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research-article

Analysis of soft-EHL line contacts on finite thickness

[+] Author and Article Information
Qie-Da Chen

Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Institute of Nanotechnology and Microsystems Engineering, National Cheng Kung University, No.1 University Road, Tainan, 701, Taiwan, China
dreamkeith@gmail.com

Wang-Long Li

Professor, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Institute of Nanotechnology and Microsystems Engineering, National Cheng Kung University, No.1 University Road, Tainan, 701, Taiwan, China
wlli@mail.ncku.edu.tw

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4039161 History: Received April 05, 2017; Revised December 03, 2017

Abstract

Soft elastohydrodynamic lubrication (soft-EHL) is an important mechanism in biotribological systems. The soft-EHL has some distinct differences from the traditional hard-EHL, and a systematic analysis factoring in key features of the "softness" appears to be lacking. In this paper, a complete soft-EHL line-contact model is developed. In the model, the half-space approximation is replaced by the finite thickness analysis; the geometrical and material nonlinearity due to finite deformation is factored in; the surface velocities altered by the curvature effect are considered, and the load balance equation is formulated based on the deformed-configuration. Solutions are obtained using a finite-element method (FEM). The film thickness, pressure distributions, and material deformation are analyzed and discussed under various entraining velocities, elastic modulus, and material thickness of the soft layer. Comparisons are made between soft-EHL and hard-EHL modeling assumptions. The analyses show that the classical EHL modeling is not suitable for soft materials with high loads. The results show that the finite deformation (Green strain) should be considered in soft-EHL analysis. In the contact region, the hard EHL solver overestimates the pressure distribution and underestimates the film thickness and deformation.

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