Surface measurement and characterization

  • E. Mainsah
  • K. J. Stout
  • T. R. Thomas


A surface may be defined as the boundary that separates an object from the surrounding medium (ANSI/ASME B46.1, 1985; ISO 4287, 1996). Topography, as used in this book, refers to the description of the surface (and is used interchangeably with microtopography1 because of the small size of the areas used in the assessment). The science of surface topography analysis is primarily concerned with describing a surface in terms of its features. Then the knowledge gained about the geometry of the surface is used to control the surface production process and / or to predict the performance of the component in its functional environment.


Fractal Dimension Root Mean Square Autocorrelation Function Surface Measurement Sampling Length 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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  1. 4.
    Not everyone agrees with the validity of this classification. Some researchers, for example, Scott (1986) have called for a radical re-think of this classification and indeed of the measurement approach.Google Scholar
  2. 5.
    Waviness tends to be more functionally significant in some applications and hence the designed surface condition would be waviness, with roughness being a secondary undesired component.Google Scholar
  3. 6.
    For this reason, O’Connor (1990) suggested that a detailed examination of waviness pattern during component manufacture can give an indication of process malfunction or deterioration.Google Scholar
  4. 7.
    Surfaces can also be classified into isotropic (uniform in character) or anisotropic (possessing lay or directionality).Google Scholar
  5. 8.
    The ability to resolve a surface into smaller and smaller (or larger and larger) scales has caused many workers, mainly beginning with Mandelbrot (1977) and Sayles and Thomas (1978) to suggest that fractal characterization might offer the best method of describing engineering surfaces.Google Scholar
  6. 9.
    Nicolau was a General in the French army and was unable to complete work on his prototype due to the outbreak of the second world war in 1939.Google Scholar
  7. 10.
    This is a limited classification only. See Chapter 3 for a more comprehensive treatment of techniques.Google Scholar
  8. 11.
    Even more confusing is the fact that some of the parameters used the same symbol but were defined in completely different manners in different standards; e.g. Rz is defined differently in DIN 4768 and ISO 4287/1 (see Dong, Mainsah and Stout, 1994).Google Scholar
  9. 12.
    M is the number of data points in the x direction, N is the number of data points in the y direction.Google Scholar
  10. 13.
    M system is the measurement system based on mean line references — for a detailed description of the M- and E-systems, see Shunmugam (1987).Google Scholar
  11. 14.
    This is the basis of the E system for measuring roughness of waviness.Google Scholar
  12. 15.
    The 10-point height parameter as defined by ISO emphasizes the extreme values in the whole assessment (i.e. the five highest and lowest in the whole surface) whilst that in DIN (usually known as the maximum depth parameter) is calculated using the highest and lowest values from 5 different sampling lengths. In the same measurement, ISO R z tends to be larger than DIN z. Google Scholar
  13. 16.
    For a more comprehensive treatment of surface parameters, the reader is referred to Whitehouse, 1994.Google Scholar
  14. 17.
    We here use the common, but not universal, notation as a way of emphasizing that the spectra must decay with frequency (i.e. the slope is necessarily negative).Google Scholar
  15. 18.
    The usual symbol for topothesy is now A and is used in other sections of this book.Google Scholar
  16. 19.
    Strictly, the point corresponding to that at which the slope of the power spectrum changed.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. Mainsah
  • K. J. Stout
  • T. R. Thomas

There are no affiliations available

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