Surface topography plays an important role in the efficiency of lubricated contacts formed between highly loaded machine parts. Gears, rolling bearings, cam and followers etc. subjected to high loads and/or slow speeds are operated under mixed lubrication when lubrication film is not able to completely separate rubbing surfaces. Such an effect becomes even more serious under transient conditions that bring the risk of the surface damage because of asperities interactions. This paper focuses on the effects of both artificially produced and real roughness features on mixed lubrication film formation during start up motion of non-conformal contacts operated under rolling/sliding conditions. The observation of the effects of surface dents artificially produced on the ball surface helped to understand better the behavior of real surface topography. It was found that the presence of shallow surface features can help to separate mixed lubricated rubbing surfaces more efficiently than it could be suggested from the results obtained with smooth surfaces.

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