This paper presents the influence of thermal phenomena on areal measurements of surface topography using contact profilometers. The research concerned measurements under controlled and variable environmental conditions. The influence of internal heat sources from profilometer drives and their electronic components was analyzed. For this purpose, a thermal chamber was designed and built. Its task was to maintain and control environmental conditions and, at the same time, separate the profilometer from external disturbances. Heat sources and temperature values for elements and systems were determined. It further enabled for the calculation of the displacements in axes as a function of temperature. The largest displacement in the probe due to internal heat sources for the considered cases occurred in the X
-axis direction. Its value reached 16.2 μm. However, the displacement in the probe in the Z
-axis direction had the greatest impact on the measured surface topography. These displacements for a thermally unstable profilometer reached 7.9 μm in Z, causing results even 90% greater than in the case of a device without such problems. The time after which a proper topography measurement can be started was also determined basing on obtained data. This time for tested profilometers was between 6 and 12 h. It was found that performing thermal stabilization of the profilometer significantly reduced surface irregularity errors. The stabilization time should be determined individually for a specific type of device.
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