The Phan-Thien and Tanner (PTT) model is one of the most widely used rheological models. It can properly describe the common characteristics of viscoelastic non-Newtonian fluids. There is evidence that synovial fluid in human joints, which also lubricates artificial joints, is viscoelastic. Modeling the geometry of the total hip replacement, the PTT model is applied in spherical coordinates for a thin confined fluid film. A modified Reynolds equation is developed for this geometry. Several simplified illustrative problems are solved. The effect of the edge boundary condition on load-carrying normal stress is discussed. Solutions are also obtained for a simple squeezing flow. The effect of both the relaxation time and the PTT shear parameter is to reduce the load relative to a Newtonian fluid with the same viscosity. This implies that the Newtonian model is not conservative and may overpredict the load capacity. The PTT theory is a good candidate model to use for joint replacement lubrication. It is well regarded and derivable from molecular considerations. The most important non-Newtonian characteristics can be described with only three primary material parameters.

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