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Ludwig Föppl and Gerhard Schubert: Unknown classics of contact mechanics

Popova, Elena; Popov, Valentin L.

At the beginning of 1941, Professor Ludwig Föppl published an eight‐page paper “Elastische Beanspruchung des Erdbodens unter Fundamenten” (Elastic stress in the ground under foundations). It was further developed by his doctoral student Gerhard Schubert and led to a publication by Schubert in 1942, which contains many results obtained by researchers in contact mechanics in the subsequent decades of the 20th century and would make many of these efforts unnecessary… if it had become known. Unfortunately, both papers have been forgotten, which is not particularly surprising considering the years when they appeared (1941–1942), the language (German), as well as the location of the publisher (Munich). Yet, these are true classic works that are still very worth reading, not just as historical artifacts, but also in terms of content. It is most regrettable that this excellent work, which in itself nearly represents a small “handbook of contact mechanics”, remained essentially unknown for a long time and has only been “rediscovered” in recent years. The present paper provides a historical background and a guideline to the mentioned works by Föppl and Schubert, followed by a complete English translation of Schubert's paper.
Published in: ZAMM ‐ Zeitschrift für Angewandte Mathematik und Mechanik, 10.1002/zamm.202000203, Wiley