5R23. Introduction to Contact Mechanics. Mechanical Engineering Series. - AC Fischer-Cripps (CSIRO, Bradfield Rd, W Linfield, Lindfield NSW, 2070, Australia). Springer-Verlag, New York. 2000. 243 pp. ISBN 0-387-98914-5. $79.95.

Reviewed by KL Johnson (Dept of Eng, Univ of Cambridge, Trumpington St, Cambridge, CB2 1PZ, UK).

Contact Mechanics—the quantitative study of the stresses and deformation at the contact of solid bodies—is a wide and growing area of the Applied Mechanics of Solids, so that it is perhaps surprising that there are so few textbooks in the field. The subject can be thought to have begun with Hertz’s classic paper: “On the contact of elastic solids” in 1882. Hertz’s theory was extended in the first half of the 20th century by applied mathematicians mainly in Germany and Russia, driven by technological developments in the railway, ball bearing, and toothed gear industries. It was recognized as an important constituent when, in 1966, studies of friction, lubrication, and wear were gathered together under the title: Tribology.

The first book in the field was: Contact Problems in the Theory of Elasticity, by LA Galin, 1953 (translated from the Russian by H Moss and published by North Carolina State College, 1961). This was followed by Surface Mechanics by FF Ling (Wiley, 1971), which is how it stood until this reviewer’s own broad survey of the field, Contact Mechanics (Cambridge University Press) in 1985. Since then there have been several excellent books concentrating on separate aspects of the subject: Three-Dimensional Elastic Bodies in Rolling Contact by JJ Kalker (Kluwer, 1990); Mechanics of Elastic Contacts by Hills, Nowell, and Sackfield (Butterworth-Heinemann, 1993); Contact Mechanics using Boundary Elements by KW Man (Comp Mech Pub, 1994), and one by Galin’s students, IG Goryacheva: Contact Mechanics in Tribology (Kluwer, 1998).

The present book, An Introduction to Contact Mechanics by AC Fischer-Cripps, does not pretend to be comprehensive. It is intended to provide a working tool for the experimental materials scientist, of whom the author is one. The mathematical sophistication of elastic contact theory is reduced to a minimum. The scope of the book reflects the author’s interest in indentation testing in general and of brittle materials in particular. The current wide interest in indentation testing, especially on the micro and nano scales, makes the book particularly timely.

The book opens with a very brief review of the equations of continuum mechanics, followed by a chapter on elastic fracture mechanics. The elastic stress fields under purely normal loads, including the Hertz contact theory are then presented, followed by a chapter on Hertzian fracture of brittle materials. The final third of the book is concerned with hardness and the indentation of elastic-plastic solids, including a chapter on “Indentation test methods.”

The author succeeds in his aim to produce a readable reference text for experimentalists who might be daunted by much of the literature in the field. Perhaps the most serious omission is the use of indentation testing to extract the material properties of thin surface coatings. An Appendix considers “Sub-micron indentation analysis,” but does not mention adhesive effects which become important with small contacts.