Recently, the punch profile in circular contact was modified to yield an advantageous pressure distribution at maximum contact load. This distribution consists of a nearly flat central plateau, surrounded by a peripheral zone of monotonous pressure decrease. This paper investigates the behavior of this improved contact at lower loads than the nominal. A pressure distribution at lower loads is proposed, which is a solution of the problem. In agreement with the principle of uniqueness of solution in elastostatics, this is the only solution. Equations for central pressure, contact radius and normal approach are derived. The main feature of pressure distribution for a nominal load is preserved at all load levels.

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