Frictional Effects on Hertzian Contact and Fracture

University dissertation from Stockholm : KTH

Abstract: This thesis addresses normal axisymmetric contact of dissimilar elastic solids at finite interfacial friction. It is shown that in the case of smooth and convex but otherwise arbitrary contact profiles and monotonically increasing loading a single stick-slip contour evolves being independent of loading and profile geometry. This allows developing an incremental procedure based on a reduced problem corresponding to frictional rigid flat punch indentation of an elastic half-space. The reduced problem, being independent of loading and contact region, was solved by a finite element method based on a stationary contact contour and characterized by high accuracy. Subsequently, a tailored cumulative superposition procedure was developed to resolve the original problem to determine global and local field values for two practically important geometries: flat and conical profiles with rounded edges and apices. Results are given for relations between force, depth and contact contours together with surface stress distributions and maximum von Mises effective stress, in particular to predict initiation of fracture and plastic flow. It is also observed that the presence of friction radically reduces the magnitude of the maximum surface tensile stress, thus retarding brittle fracture initiation.Hertzian fracture through indentation of flat float glass specimens by steel balls has been examined experimentally for a full load cycle. It has been observed that if the specimen survived during loading to a maximum level it frequently failed at decreasing load. It has been proposed by Johnson et al. (1973) that the underlying physical cause of Hertzian fracture initiation during load removal is that at unloading frictional tractions reverse their sign over part of the contact region. Guided by these considerations a robust computational procedure has been developed to determine global and local field values in particular at unloading at finite friction. In contrast to the situation at monotonically increasing loading, at unloading invariance properties are lost and stick-slip regions proved to be severely history dependent and in particular with an opposed frictional shear stress at the contact boundary region. This causes an increase of the maximum tensile stress at the contour under progressive unloading. It is shown that the experimental observations concerning Hertzian fracture initiation at unloading are at least in qualitative correlation with the effect friction has on the maximum surface tensile stress.A contact cycle between two dissimilar elastic bodies at finite Coulomb friction has been further investigated analytically and numerically for a wider range of material parameters and contact geometries. With the issue of Hertzian fracture initiation in mind, results concerning the influence of the friction coefficient and compliance parameters on the absolute maximum surface tensile stress during a frictional contact cycle are reported along with the magnitudes of the relative increase of maximum tensile stresses at unloading. Based on a critical stress fracture criterion it is discussed how the predicted increases will influence the critical loads required for crack initiation.Fracture loads are measured with steel and tungsten carbide spherical indenters in contact with float glass specimens at monotonically increasing loading and during a load cycle. Computational predictions concerning the fracture loads are given based on Hertz and frictional contact theories combined with a critical stress fracture criterion. The computational results obtained for frictional contact are shown to be in better agreement with experimental findings as compared to the predictions based on the Hertz theory. The remaining quantitative discrepancy was attributed to the well-known fact that a Hertzian macro-crack initiates from pre-existing defects on the specimen’s surface. In order to account for the influence of the random distribution of these defects on the fracture loads at monotonic loading, Weibull statistics was introduced. The predicted critical loads corresponding to 50% failure probability were found to be in close agreement with experimentally observed ones.