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A series of simulations of chemical mechanical polishing (CMP) were conducted to investigate the contact force between abrasive particles and specimens by using the finite element method (FEM). In this paper, a micro-contact model, which only involves the mechanical interactions, was set up to simulate the polishing process by changing the processing parameters, including the downward pressure, abrasive size, and polishing speed. Simulation results show that the contact force becomes larger when the downward pressure increases. In addition, when the downward pressure and abrasive size increase, the fluctuation of the contact force becomes large, whereas it declines with decreases in the polishing speed. In addition, corresponding CMP experiments were done to investigate the material removal rate (MRR) and polished average roughness (Ra) under different simulation conditions. Through the establishment of the contact force properties in the simulation and the MRR and Ra in the CMP experiment, qualitative research has been done on the relationship between the contact force in the simulation and experimental results. Experimental results indicate that the MRR and surface roughness are influenced by the contact force. A high MRR can be obtained by a large contact force and dramatic fluctuations can lead to poor surface-finish quality. The investigation contributes to obtaining higher polishing efficiency and lower surface roughness through optimization of the polishing parameters.


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