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.

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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Real area of contact

May 11, 2022

Scientists and philosophers through the ages have struggled with the concepts of friction. Leonardo da Vinci studied many aspects of friction, bearings, etc. In one set of experiments, he tied

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Sticky: The Secret Science of Surfaces

May 4, 2022

I just finished reading this great book that nicely covers many aspects of surface roughness and tribology. The author, Laurie Winkless, is a physicist who loves communicating about science and

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Remembering Frank Bowden

April 27, 2022

May 2 will mark the birthday of Frank Philip Bowden who, along with David Tabor, laid the groundwork for much of our modern understanding of friction and lubrication. “Putting two

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Surface Roughness Measurement - Michigan Metrology - Don Cohen

Surface texture: a GD&T lab may not have the measurement tools

April 20, 2022

High-precision surface texture measurement systems are more widely available now than they were 10 or 15 years ago. Yet, purchasing such systems can still be difficult to justify for small

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Typical Average Roughness values for various machining operations

April 13, 2022

Ra (Roughness Average, or average roughness) is the average height of all measured points on a surface. Ra is the most widely used surface texture parameter. As we’ve mentioned elsewhere

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Choosing an interferometric objective

April 6, 2022

Though an optical profiler and stylus measurement system are very different technologies, they do also have some similarities. If you are used to working with stylus-based measurement systems, you know

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Wear means “material removal”…doesn’t it?

March 30, 2022

When we think of how to measure wear, the first thought might be to quantify how much material has been removed from a surface. We might look at a change

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Curling and Surface Roughness

Curling: the international sport of tribology!

March 23, 2022

Curling is an international, Olympic sport that is a challenge of both skill and strategy. If you search the Internet, you’ll find videos describing the immense amount of care that

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Traversing length, evaluation length and sampling length

March 16, 2022

Download this article as a PDF When measuring roughness with a stylus-based system you’ll hear the terms “traversing length,” “evaluation length” and “sampling length.” It’s important to understand their specific

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