3D Surface Roughness and Wear Measurement, Analysis and Inspection

Welcome to the Surface Roughness Analysis Blog

Why do brakes squeak? When will a gasket leak? What caused the haziness in my painted finish?

Surface texture and function are tightly linked. Understanding the relationship between texture and function, and sharing that information with engineers and quality professionals, is what Michigan Metrology is all about. 

The articles in this blog explore the concepts of surface texture analysis and measurement. We show how you can apply these concepts to solve problems related to leaks, squeaks, appearance, wear, noise, fit, friction, vibration, adhesion, and many other functions.

Looking for more information on specific surface texture parameters? Visit our Surface Texture Parameters Glossary for an introduction to dozens of 3D surface roughness analysis parameters.

And, if you want to learn much more about surface texture consider attending our online and in-person classes for an immersive introduction to the many concepts in surface analysis.

Wear mechanisms, scoring, scuffing, galling - Michigan Metrology

Scoring, scuffing, and galling

August 2, 2022

So many wear mechanisms…so many definitions “Wear” is the progressive modification to a surface. It may result in a loss, deposit, or redistribution of material[1]. Quantifying different types of wear

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Friction and Wear of Materials, Ernest Rabinowicz, surface roughness and friction - Michigan Metrology

Friction and Wear of Materials

July 25, 2022

For those of you who have taken my class, you know that this is an important resource for me. Ernest Rabinowicz really pioneered our understanding of friction and wear, both

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Leaks, squeaks, fit, friction, noise, vibration, appearance, wear, adhesion - Michigan Metrology

The “leaks and squeaks” images

July 18, 2022

Over the years we’ve shown these images frequently on our website (which has just been updated, by the way!). Taken together, they sum up the kinds of issues we see—and

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Bandpass and Notch Filters

July 11, 2022

It’s a regular refrain on this blog: surface texture consists of a spectrum of spatial wavelengths, ranging from shorter spatial-wavelength roughness through longer spatial-wavelength waviness and form. Through the process

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Surface Texture - Floyd Firestone

Celebrating Floyd Firestone

July 5, 2022

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

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Leaks and Surface Roughness - Rotary lip seal leaks due to macro lead and micro lead

Micro vs macro lead

June 28, 2022

Rotary lip seals create a boundary around shafts in rotary equipment, typically to retain lubricant on one side versus air or gas on the other. On first consideration, it would

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Surface roughness - average roughness ra changes with cutoff wavelength - Michigan Metrology

Ra changes when the cutoff changes

June 21, 2022

The Roughness Average, or average roughness parameter, Ra, is the average of the surface heights of every point along the “roughness profile.” Its equivalent for areal (3D) measurements is the

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Surface Texture Answer Book - Carl Musolff and Mark Malburg

The Surface Texture Answer Book

June 15, 2022

I’ve been working with surface roughness for over 30 years…yet I am always looking for ways to expand my knowledge. This book has been in heavy rotation for me since

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Stylus profilometer and optical profiler correlate - Surface Roughness Analysis Blog - Michigan Metrology

Can stylus and optical measurements correlate?

June 8, 2022

Many companies use both stylus and optical measurement technologies to measure surface texture. A question that we are often asked is, “Can the measurements between these different systems correlate, and

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Why stitch surface texture data?

June 1, 2022

How would you go about measuring these coins? In terms of value, the most precious would likely depend upon your age, and possibly the time left on your parking meter!

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sliding friction - surface roughness analysis blog - michigan metrology

Smoother is better…?

May 25, 2022

It’s a common intuition that smoother surface texture is “better” for rotating or sliding over another component. It seems natural that a smoother surface would wear less, have lower friction,

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What is the F-Operator (and why can’t I find it on my machine)?

May 18, 2022

You may have heard the term “F-Operator” and wondered what it is, and how it’s used. As we mention often, surface texture consists of a spectrum of spatial wavelengths, ranging

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