, also known as surface texture
, is the characteristics of a surface
In mathematics, specifically in topology, a surface is a two-dimensional topological manifold. The most familiar examples are those that arise as the boundaries of solid objects in ordinary three-dimensional Euclidean space R3 — for example, the surface of a ball...
. It has three components: lay
, surface roughness
, and waviness
Lay is a measure of the direction of the predominant machining
Conventional machining is a form of subtractive manufacturing, in which a collection of material-working processes utilizing power-driven machine tools, such as saws, lathes, milling machines, and drill presses, are used with a sharp cutting tool to physical remove material to achieve a desired...
pattern. A lay pattern
is a repetitive impression created on the surface of a part. It is often representative of a specific manufacturing operation. The lay may be specified when it has an effect on the function of the part. Unless otherwise specified, roughness is measured perpendicular to the lay.
Surface roughness, more commonly shortened to roughness
, is a measure of the finely spaced surface irregularities. In engineering, this is what is usually meant by "surface finish".
Waviness is the measure of surface irregularities with a spacing greater than that of surface roughness. These usually occur due to warping
In sailing, warping is a method of moving a vessel, typically against the wind or out from a dead calm, by hauling on a line attached to an anchor, a sea anchor or a fixed object, such as a bollard. In small boats, the anchor may be thrown in the intended direction of progress and hauled in after...
Machining vibrations, also called chatter, correspond to the relative movement between the workpiece and the cutting tool. The vibrations result in waves on the machined surface. This affects typical machining processes, such as turning, milling and drilling, and atypical machining processes, such...
, or deflection during machining.
Surface finish may be measured in two ways: contact
methods. Contact methods involve dragging a measurement stylus
A stylus is a writing utensil, or a small tool for some other form of marking or shaping, for example in pottery. The word is also used for a computer accessory . It usually refers to a narrow elongated staff, similar to a modern ballpoint pen. Many styli are heavily curved to be held more easily...
across the surface; these instruments are called profilometer
Profilometer is a measuring instrument used to measure a surface's profile, in order to quantify its roughness.While the historical notion of a profilometer was a device similar to a phonograph that measures a surface as the surface is moved relative to the contact profilometer's stylus, this...
s. Non-contact methods include: interferometry
Interferometry refers to a family of techniques in which electromagnetic waves are superimposed in order to extract information about the waves. An instrument used to interfere waves is called an interferometer. Interferometry is an important investigative technique in the fields of astronomy,...
, confocal microscopy
Confocal microscopy is an optical imaging technique used to increase optical resolution and contrast of a micrograph by using point illumination and a spatial pinhole to eliminate out-of-focus light in specimens that are thicker than the focal plane. It enables the reconstruction of...
, focus variation
Focus variation is a method to calculate a sharp image and to measure the depth with an optics with limited depth of field.-Algorithm:The algorithm work as follows:# at first images with difference focus are captured...
, structured light
]Structured light is the process of projecting a known pattern of pixels on to a scene. The way that these deform when striking surfaces allows vision systems to calculate the depth and surface information of the objects in the scene, as used in structured light 3D scanners.Invisible Structured...
, electrical capacitance, electron microscopy, and photogrammetry
Photogrammetry is the practice of determining the geometric properties of objects from photographic images. Photogrammetry is as old as modern photography and can be dated to the mid-nineteenth century....
The most common method is to use a diamond
In mineralogy, diamond is an allotrope of carbon, where the carbon atoms are arranged in a variation of the face-centered cubic crystal structure called a diamond lattice. Diamond is less stable than graphite, but the conversion rate from diamond to graphite is negligible at ambient conditions...
stylus profilometer. The stylus is run perpendicular to the lay of the surface. The probe usually traces along a straight line on a flat surface or in a circular arc around a cylindrical surface. The length of the path that it traces is called the measurement length
. The wavelength of the lowest frequency filter that will be used to analyze the data is usually defined as the sampling length
. Most standards recommend that the measurement length should be at least seven times longer than the sampling length, and according to the Nyquist–Shannon sampling theorem
The Nyquist–Shannon sampling theorem, after Harry Nyquist and Claude Shannon, is a fundamental result in the field of information theory, in particular telecommunications and signal processing. Sampling is the process of converting a signal into a numeric sequence...
it should be at least ten times longer than the wavelength of interesting features. The assessment length
or evaluation length
is the length of data that will be used for analysis. Commonly one sampling length is discarded from each end of the measurement length. 3D measurements can be made with a profilometer by scanning over a 2D area on the surface.
The disadvantage of a profilometer is that it is not accurate when the size of the features of the surface are close to the same size as the stylus. Another disadvantage is that profilometers have difficulty detecting flaws of the same general size as the roughness of the surface. There are also limitations for non-contact instruments. For example, instruments that rely on optical interference cannot resolve features that are less than some fraction of the frequency of their operating wavelength. This limitation can make it difficult to accurately measure roughness even on common objects, since the interesting features may be well below the wavelength of light. The wavelength of red light is about 650 nm, while the Ra
of a ground shaft might be 2000 nm.
The first step of analysis is to filter the raw data to remove very high frequency data since it can often be attributed to vibrations or debris on the surface. Next, the data is separated into roughness, waviness and form. This can be accomplished using reference lines, envelope methods, digital filters, fractals or other techniques. Finally, the data is summarized using one or more roughness parameters, or a graph. In the past, surface finish was usually analyzed by hand. The roughness trace would be plotted on graph paper, and an experienced machinist decided what data to ignore and where to place the mean line. Today, the measured data is stored on a computer, and analyzed using methods from signal analysis and statistics.
In the United States, surface finish is usually specified using the ASME Y14.36M standard. The other common standard is International Organization for Standardization
The International Organization for Standardization , widely known as ISO, is an international standard-setting body composed of representatives from various national standards organizations. Founded on February 23, 1947, the organization promulgates worldwide proprietary, industrial and commercial...
Many factors contribute to the surface finish in manufacturing. In forming processes, such as molding
Molding or moulding is the process of manufacturing by shaping pliable raw material using a rigid frame or model called a pattern....
or metal forming, surface finish of the die
A die is a specialized tool used in manufacturing industries to cut or shape material using a press. Like molds, dies are generally customized to the item they are used to create...
determines the surface finish of the workpiece. In machining the interaction of the cutting edges and the microstructure of the material being cut both contribute to the final surface finish. In general, the cost of manufacturing a surface increases as the surface finish improves.
Just as different manufacturing processes produce parts at various tolerances, they are also capable of different roughnesses. Generally these two characteristics are linked: manufacturing processes that are dimensionally precise create surfaces with low roughness. In other words, if a process can manufacture parts to a narrow dimensional tolerance, the parts will not be very rough.
Due to the abstractness of surface finish parameters, engineers usually use a tool that has a variety of surface roughnesses created using different manufacturing methods.
- Marks' Standard Handbook for Mechanical Engineers, Section 13.5 "Surface Texture Designation, Production, and Control" by Thomas W. Wolf.