On the nature of surface roughness with application to contact mechanics, sealing, rubber friction and adhesion

J Phys Condens Matter. 2005 Jan 12;17(1):R1-R62. doi: 10.1088/0953-8984/17/1/R01. Epub 2004 Dec 10.


Surface roughness has a huge impact on many important phenomena. The most important property of rough surfaces is the surface roughness power spectrum C(q). We present surface roughness power spectra of many surfaces of practical importance, obtained from the surface height profile measured using optical methods and the atomic force microscope. We show how the power spectrum determines the contact area between two solids. We also present applications to sealing, rubber friction and adhesion for rough surfaces, where the power spectrum enters as an important input.