Measurement of tangential contact stiffness in frictional contacts: the effect of normal pressure

Mehmet E Kartal, Daniel M Mulvihill, David Nowell, David A Hills

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)


The tangential contact stiffness of frictional interfaces affects both the vibration response and structural integrity of structures comprising frictional joints. Vibration and structural response of monolithic structures can be predicted very accurately; however, when assemblies of components involve frictional interfaces, additional damping and compliance are present due to these interfaces. These features make it more challenging to predict the vibration characteristics of assemblies with the same degree of accuracy as can be achieved for single components. If these interface properties can be determined, it should then be possible to significantly enhance current models of the vibration of engineering assemblies. Measurements of both force and displacement in the tangential direction are obtained from a series of in-line fretting tests involving flat pads with rounded corners clamped against the flat surface of a specimen which is oscillated by a hydraulic tensile testing machine. In order to measure the local displacement field very close to the contact interface, the digital image correlation (DIC) method is employed. The effect of normal contact pressure on tangential contact stiffness is investigated. Multiple experiments with the same parameters show good repeatability given the number of variables involved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-326
Number of pages6
JournalApplied Mechanics and Materials
Early online date18 Aug 2011
Publication statusPublished - 8 Sept 2011


  • frictional contact
  • contact stiffness
  • fretting wear
  • digital image correlation


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