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Most surfaces have regular and irregular spacings that tend to form a pattern or texture on the surface. This article provides information on the general background of surface topography and discusses the different methods for measuring surface topography, namely, contact and noncontact techniques, and the focus-follow method. Examples of different types of parameters obtained and how they are applied can best be described by discussing the various types of surfaces generated by finishing methods. The surfaces include ground, turned, and milled machined surfaces; surfaces subjected to stress; bearing surfaces; plateau honed and tapped surfaces; and reflective, painted, elastic, and wear-resistant surfaces.

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