This paper describes a two-dimensional (plane strain) elastic-plastic finite element model of rolling contact that embodies the elastic-perfectly plastic, cycle and amplitude-independent material of the Merwin and Johnson theory, but is rigorous with respect to equilibrium and continuity requirements. The rolling contact is simulated by translating a semielliptical pressure distribution. Both Hertzian and modified Hertzian pressure distributions are used to estimate the effect of plasticity on contact width and the continuity of the indentor-indentation interface. The model is tested for its ability to reproduce various features of the elastic-plastic indentation problem and the stress and strain states of single rolling contacts. This paper compares the results derived from the finite element analysis of a single, frictionless rolling contact at p0/k = 5 with those obtained from the Merwin and Johnson analysis. The finite element calculations validate basic assumptions made by Merwin and Johnson and are consistent with the development of “forward” flow. However, the comparison also reveals significant differences in the distribution of residual stress and strain components after a single contact cycle.

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