Real contact mechanisms and finite element formulation—a coupled thermomechanical approach

G. Zavarise, P. Wriggers, E. Stein, B. A. Schrefler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

107 Scopus citations


The solution of contact problems involves great numerical efforts to satisfy non-penetration conditions. The search for numerical efficiency hence has limited the modelling of the real physical interface behaviour. Up to now mainly simple laws, usually formulated using constant coefficients, have been available to study contact problems in uncoupled form. Here a thermomechanically coupled contact element is presented which accounts for the real microscopic shape of the surfaces, the microscopic mechanism of force transmission and heat exchange. The contact element geometrical behaviour has been put together with experimental and theoretical well founded micro-mechanical and micro-thermal laws adapted to Finite Element Method (FEM) necessities. Based on these laws the macroscopic related stiffnesses are calculated and continuously updated taking into account changes in significant parameters. The linearization of the set of equations has been obtained using a consistent technique which implies computational efficiency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)767-785
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal for Numerical Methods in Engineering
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 15 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Numerical Analysis
  • Engineering(all)
  • Applied Mathematics


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