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Numerical optimization of highly loaded microtextured contacts: understanding and mastering complexity

Christian Orgeldinger (Faculty of Engineering Science, University of Bayreuth, Bayreuth, Germany)
Tobias Rosnitscheck (Faculty of Engineering Science, University of Bayreuth, Bayreuth, Germany)
Stephan Tremmel (Faculty of Engineering Science, University of Bayreuth, Bayreuth, Germany)

Industrial Lubrication and Tribology

ISSN: 0036-8792

Article publication date: 31 January 2023

Issue publication date: 18 August 2023




Microtextured surfaces can reduce friction in tribological systems under certain contact conditions. Because it is very time-consuming to determine suitable texture patterns experimentally, numerical approaches to the design of microtextures are increasingly gaining acceptance. The purpose of this paper is to investigate to what extent the selected modeling approach affects optimized texturing.


Using the cam/tappet contact as an application-oriented example, a simplified 2D and a full 3D model are developed for determining the best possible texturing via a design study. The study explores elongated Gaussian-shaped texture elements for this purpose. The optima of the simplified 2D simulation model and the full 3D model are compared with each other to draw conclusions about the influence of the modeling strategy. The target value here is the solid body friction in contact.


For the elongated texture elements used, both the simplified 2D model and the full model result in very similar optimal texture patterns. In the selected application, the simplified simulation model can significantly reduce the computational effort without affecting the optimization result.


Depending on the selected use case, the simulation effort required for microtexture optimization can be significantly reduced by comparing different models first. Therefore, an exact physical replica of the real contact is not necessarily the primary goal when it comes to texture selection based on numerical simulations.



This paper forms part of a special section “Insights into the work of a new generation of young tribologists”, guest edited by Max Marian.

Funding: This research was funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) under Project 426217784 within the Priority Program SPP 1551 “Resource-efficient construction elements”.

Mention: This research was presented at the fifth YTRS 2022 in Karlsruhe.

Data availability statement: The numerical transient simulations under consideration typically generate very large amounts of data, which is why the complete results are not made available in a public database. For further information, please contact the authors.

Conflicts of interest: The authors declare no conflict of interest.


Orgeldinger, C., Rosnitscheck, T. and Tremmel, S. (2023), "Numerical optimization of highly loaded microtextured contacts: understanding and mastering complexity", Industrial Lubrication and Tribology, Vol. 75 No. 7, pp. 741-747.



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