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The History of “Sneddon's” solution in contact mechanics

Popova, Elena; Popov, Valentin L.

At the beginning of 1941, Ludwig Föppl published an 8-page paper “Elastische Beanspruchung des Erdbodens unter Fundamenten”. The main result of this paper was further developed by his doctoral student Gerhard Schubert in 1942. These publications by Föppl and Schubert contain many results obtained by researchers in contact mechanics in the subsequent decades of the 20th century. Unfortunately, both papers have been forgotten, which is not particularly surprising considering the years when they appeared (1941-42). The solution of Schubert reached a great degree of international recognition through the paper of Sneddon (1965) – one of the most cited publications in the history of contact mechanics. Yet Sneddon merely offers a different derivation approach to obtain already known solutions. The solution of Föppl and Schubert was finally transformed into a simple mnemonic rule in the Method of Dimensionality Reduction (MDR).
Published in: Proceedings in Applied Mathematics and Mechanics (PAMM), 10.1002/pamm.202100048, Wiley-VCH