3D Surface Roughness and Wear Measurement, Analysis and Inspection

Animations and Videos

Some topics in surface texture and tribology are challenging to visualize. These short videos and animations help to cut through the math to make the key messages easier to grasp and retain.

Average Roughness (Ra)

If you rely on average roughness (Ra) to control your surfaces, check out this short animation. It shows that very different surfaces can all have the same Ra value…and Ra alone can’t tell you which one you’ve manufactured!

Friction and the Real Area of Contact

It seems like it should be easier to push a heavy block if it’s standing on end, rather than laying on its face…and yet this isn’t always the case. The reason why lies in the difference between the “real area of contact” and the “apparent area of contact.” In this video we zoom in on surface roughness to understand what’s really happening when rigid surfaces come into contact.


Surface texture can be described as a spectrum of spatial wavelengths. “Filtering” is the process to isolate the wavelengths that matter for our application. But what does that really look like? One way to visualize it is to think of sorting different sized stones. In this short animation we show how we can use that analogy to visualize filtering into surface roughness, waviness, or as many bands as necessary for the application.

Paint finish and spatial wavelengths

In this brief animation we look at surface texture as a spectrum of spatial wavelengths. We can use cutoff wavelengths to examine different ranges within that spectrum to spot differences in the surface texture that we might miss if we only track the overall average roughness. When we can see the differences, we can take steps to control them. And that’s the key to a smooth finish.