To investigate the pressure distribution and the stress state in a real elasto-plastic circular contact, bearing balls of two different degrees of surface finishing were used. These were pressed against a polished flat surface made of softer steel. The surface microtopography data measured in each case by a laser profilometry was introduced in a numerical program developed to evaluate the pressure distribution, stress state and residual deformations for an elasto-plastic material with non-linear hardening. The dimension of calculated contact plastic deformations compare favorably with those found experimentally by aid of a laser profilometer.

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