Effect of surface topography upon micro-impact dynamics

Often the effect of interactions at nano-scale determines the tribological performance of load bearing contacts. This is particularly the case for lightly loaded conjunctions where a plethora of short range kinetic interactions occur. It is also true of larger load bearing conjunctions where boundary interactions become dominant. At the diminutive scale of fairly smooth surface topography the cumulative discrete interactions give rise to the dominance of boundary effects rather than the bulk micro-scale phenomena, based on continuum mechanics. The integration of the manifold localised discrete interactions into a continuum is the pre-requisite to the understanding of characteristic boundary effects, which transcend the physical length scales and affect the key observed system attributes. These are energy efficiency and vibration refinement. This paper strives to present such an approach. It is shown that boundary and near boundary interactions can be adequately described by surface topographical measures, as well the thermodynamic conditions.