An effective means of studying lubricant film rheology within EHL contacts is by detailed mapping of the temperature of the fluid and the bounding surfaces within the lubricated contact area. This provides a way of directly measuring the rheology of lubricant films under true EHL conditions. Furthermore, temperature measurement itself provides a very effective means of testing and validating computer simulations. In the current work, the experimental approach initially developed by Sanborn and Winer [1] and then by Spikes and co-workers [2], has been advanced to include a high specification infrared (IR) camera and microscope. This is a similar approach to that taken by Yagi and Kyogoku [3]. As well as the instantaneous capture of full field measurements, this has the advantage of increased sensitivity and higher spatial resolution than previous systems used. The increased sensitivity enables a much larger range of testable operating conditions; namely lower loads, speeds and reduced sliding. In addition, the range of test lubricants can be extended beyond high shearing traction fluids. One additional advantage of instantaneous full field measurements is that the weak infrared optical interference caused by the film can be observed and can used to exactly locate the centre of the contact in the resulting temperature maps. These new possibilities have been used to investigate and compare the rheological properties and compression cooling effects exhibited by a PAO, a group II mineral oil, and a traction fluid.

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