Two-dimensional steady-state thermal elasto-plastic contact of rough surfaces

G. Liu*, T. Liu, Q. Xie, Q. J. Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


A finite-element deterministic two-dimensional thermal elasto-plastic contact model is presented in this article, which facilitates the investigation of the influence of steady-state frictional heating on contacting asperities and subsurface stress fields. This model takes into account the asperity distortion caused by the temperature variation in a tribological process, microplastic flow of surface asperities, and coupled thermo-elasto-plastic behaviour of the material, with and without considering the strain-hardening property of the material. The model is verified through the contact analysis of a rigid, isothermal cylinder with a thermally conductive, elasto-plastic plane. The maximum contact pressures increase with frictional heating. Furthermore, thermal effects on the contact pressure, real area of the contact, and average gap of a real rough surface with different frictional heat inputs under thermal elasto-plastic contact conditions are numerically investigated. It indicates that neglecting thermal effect overestimates the real area of the contact and underestimates the average gap between the contacting surfaces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)843-855
Number of pages13
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part J: Journal of Engineering Tribology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Nov 2008


  • Contact
  • Rough surfaces
  • Steady state
  • Thermal elasto-plastic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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