A numerical simulation technique based on elastic asperity deformation is presented to analyze real surface contact and pressure distributions in sliding wear. The calculations have been applied to experimentally produced surfaces whose topography has been determined using an atomic force microscope. A variational approach is applied to minimize the stored energy in the contact, which determines contact area without additional iteration. Two-dimensional FIR digital filter techniques are used and an FFT procedure is used to improve the efficiency of the filter implementation. The model is used to obtain the pressure distribution, real contact area, and the distribution of real contact area under sliding conditions either parallel or perpendicular to the grinding lay. The calculated results of real contact stress at different stages of wear are given. The calculated and experimental results suggest that the stress distribution of real contact follows an exponential function. The contact stress distribution index ß governs the stress distribution form and reflects the performance of the frictional components in sliding wear. The proportion of plastic contact deformation ? is also related to ß; therefore, reflecting the frictional property in sliding wear. The experimental and calculated results show that the smaller frictional coefficient and more homogeneous distribution of stress occur when the sliding direction is parallel rather than perpendicular to the grinding-lay direction.