Department of Mathematics

Chrysler LLC

Proposed Project for the MSU Industrial Math Students

Contact Mechanics in Automotive Design

Identify the best modeling practice to assess contact stress between two dissimilarly shaped surfaces pressed together by a force along their common normal. The modeling must consider friction forces that act in a tangential direction when there is relative motion between the surfaces. Deliverable for the project is a module of Matlab code. Inputs to the code likely include a force magnitude that presses the shapes together, shape parameters (principal curvatures of the two surfaces), elastic constants (Elastic modulus and Poisson's ratio), a friction coefficient and a sliding direction (e.g., a vector indicating the direction of relative motion of between two surfaces). The output would be stress (load (Newtons) / unit area (mm^2)). The approach would have to leverage Hertz contact stress theory, but also additional theory that includes the effect of tangential friction loading.

Top of Page


For any additional questions regarding the program curriculum and/or the extension deadline for the application to the MSIM program, contact us at


Department of Mathematics
Michigan State University
619 Red Cedar Road
C212 Wells Hall
East Lansing, MI 48824

Phone: (517) 353-0844
Fax: (517) 432-1562

College of Natural Science