Detailed investigation of 3D frictional contact problems

CONTACT solves contact problems such as occur between wheel and rail, in roller bearings and in high-tech positioning systems. It aims to provide fast, reliable and detailed insights into contact interactions:

  • more detailed and complete than fast approximations such as Hertz' theory or the FASTSIM approach, and
  • many times faster than the detailed modeling provided by Finite Element approaches.


CONTACT implements the theories for rolling contact by E.A.H. Vollebregt and J.J. Kalker of Delft University of Technology:

  • identification of the size and shape of the contact area;
  • identification of the regions with adhesion and (micro-)slip;
  • determination of the normal and tangential surface stresses (tractions) in the contact area;
  • calculation of elastic displacements and subsurface stresses in the bodies' interiors;
  • for stationary and instationary, rolling and sliding problems;
  • for massive homogeneous bodies of elastic and viscoelastic materials;
  • with Hertzian and non-Hertzian, "smooth edged" geometries.
The latter two aspects make that the contact is "concentrated" in a small, almost flat part of the bodies' exteriors.


Our theories for rolling contact come in different forms. For an overview of these please refer to the Products page.


January, 2019: We released CONTACT version v19.1. This solves contact problems for wheels on rollers and provides extensions to the CONTACT library.

May, 2018: We released CONTACT version v18.1.5. This is a minor update that provides improvements in the wheel/rail contact module and the CONTACT library.

February, 2018: We released CONTACT version v18.1. This includes many improvements to the new wheel/rail contact module, and has many options added to the free version.

September, 2017: We released CONTACT version v17.1. This includes a beta-version of a whole new wheel/rail contact module.

August, 2016: We released CONTACT version v16.1. This includes fast calculation of the internal stresses and a new version of the CONTACT library.

April, 2016: Our CONTACT library is now available in MATLAB®, GENSYS and Universal Mechanism. For more information see the new Products page.

November 2015: The fourth edition of our course on contact mechanics with CONTACT was held in Delft, The Netherlands.

October, 2015: We released CONTACT version v15.1. This includes the fast solver TangCG and provides CONTACT as a library.

September, 2015: An invited presentation was held at the international Contact Mechanics conference (Colorado Springs, USA), giving an overview of recent developments.

April 2014: Two papers appeared on-line: describing the extensions of CONTACT for 3rd body layers and falling friction, and describing conformal contact simulation.

November 2012: The so-called "Kalker CONTACT add-on" to SIMPACK Rail is released for SIMPACK version 9.2 or higher.