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Contact mechanics of rough surfaces: is Persson's theory better than Greenwood & Willamson?

Mike Ciavarella's picture

A recent string of papers originated from Persson's paper in the physics literature contain a number of interesting new ideas, but compare, of the many theories for randomly rough surfaces, only Persson's and Bush et al, BGT. These papers often assume the original Greenwood and Williamson (GW) theory [1] to be inaccurate, but unfortunately do not test it, assuming BGT to be its better version. The original GW however is, I will show below, still the best paper and method today (not surprisingly, as not many papers have the level of 1300 citations), containing generally less assumptions than any other model, including the constitutive equation which does not need to be elastic! I just submitted this Letter to the Editor: On "Contact mechanics of real vs. randomly rough surfaces: A Green's function molecular dynamics study" by C. Campaña and M. H. Müser, EPL, 77 (2007) 38005. C. Campaña and M. H. Müser also make several questionable statements, including a dubious interpretation of their own results, and do not even cite the original GW paper; hence, we find useful to make some comments.

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