Analytical Elastostatic Contact Mechanics of Highly-Loaded Contacts of Varying Conformity

Johns-Rahnejat, Patricia orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-2490-8753, Dolatabadi, Nader and Rahnejat, Homer orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-2257-7102 (2020) Analytical Elastostatic Contact Mechanics of Highly-Loaded Contacts of Varying Conformity. Lubricants, 8 (9). p. 89.

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In applications requiring high load carrying capacity, conforming contacting pairs with a relatively large contact footprint are used. These include circular arc, Novikov, and Wildhaber gears found, for example, in helicopter rotors. Closely conforming contacts also occur in many natural endo-articular joints, such as hips, or their replacement arthroplasty. The main determining factors in contact fatigue are the sub-surface shear stresses. For highly loaded contacts, classical Hertzian contact mechanics is used for many gears, bearings, and joints. However, the theory is essentially for concentrated counterforming contacts, where the problem is reduced to a rigid ellipsoidal solid penetrating an equivalent semi-infinite elastic half-space. Applicability is limited though, and the theory is often used inappropriately for contacts of varying degrees of conformity. This paper presents a generic contact mechanics approach for the determination of sub-surface stresses, which is applicable to both highly conforming as well as concentrated counterforming contacts. It is shown that sub-surface shear stresses alter in magnitude and disposition according to contact conformity, and lead to the different modes of fatigue failure noted in practice.

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