Floyd Alburn Firestone was an acoustical physicist with wide-ranging talents, with important contributions in fields including acoustics, non-destructive testing, medicine, and surface texture. He is remembered as developing the first practical ultrasonic testing system, which is used widely for inspecting material fatigue in railroad cars, aircraft components, and other transportation vessels. The technique was also, of course, later applied in medical diagnosis.
In the surface texture world, Firestone and Ernest Abbott are known for developing the Abbott-Firestone curve, or Bearing Ratio Curve. Its counterpart in the world of areal (3D) measurement is known as the Areal Material Ratio Curve. The curve shows the relationships between the peaks, core material, and valleys of a surface’s texture. Parameters derived from the curve provide a wealth of information about how a surface wears, how it will retain lubricant, etc. It is a powerful tool for designing engines, drive trains, and other components that will function well in the factory, after initial run-in, and over the course of their functional lives.
Learn more about the Abbott-Firestone curve in the Surface Roughness Parameters module of our Surface Texture and Tribology short course. All course modules are available on udemy.com.