Meeting the Contact-Mechanics Challenge

Martin H. Müser, Wolf B. Dapp, Romain Bugnicourt, Philippe Sainsot, Nicolas Lesaffre, Ton A. Lubrecht, Bo N.J. Persson, Kathryn Harris, Alexander Bennett, Kyle Schulze, Sean Rohde, Peter Ifju, W. Gregory Sawyer, Thomas Angelini, Hossein Ashtari Esfahani, Mahmoud Kadkhodaei, Saleh Akbarzadeh, Jiunn-Jong Wu, Georg Vorlaufer, András VernesSoheil Solhjoo, Antonis I. Vakis, Robert L. Jackson, Yang Xu, Jeffrey Streator, Amir Rostami, Daniele Dini, Simon Medina, Giuseppe Carbone, Francesco Bottiglione, Luciano Afferrante, Joseph Monti, Lars Pastewka, Mark O. Robbins, James A. Greenwood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

251 Citations (Scopus)
704 Downloads (Pure)


This paper summarizes the submissions to a recently announced contact-mechanics modeling challenge. The task was to solve a typical, albeit mathematically fully defined problem on the adhesion between nominally flat surfaces. The surface topography of the rough, rigid substrate, the elastic properties of the indenter, as well as the short-range adhesion between indenter and substrate, were specified so that diverse quantities of interest, e.g., the distribution of interfacial stresses at a given load or the mean gap as a function of load, could be computed and compared to a reference solution. Many different solution strategies were pursued, ranging from traditional asperity-based models via Persson theory and brute-force computational approaches, to real-laboratory experiments and all-atom molecular dynamics simulations of a model, in which the original assignment was scaled down to the atomistic scale. While each submission contained satisfying answers for at least a subset of the posed questions, efficiency, versatility, and accuracy differed between methods, the more precise methods being, in general, computationally more complex. The aim of this paper is to provide both theorists and experimentalists with benchmarks to decide which method is the most appropriate for a particular application and to gauge the errors associated with each one.

Original languageEnglish
Article number118
Number of pages18
JournalTribology Letters
Issue number4
Early online date16-Aug-2017
Publication statusPublished - Dec-2017

Cite this