The effects of artificially-produced dents and grooves on the elastohydrodynamic (EHD) film thickness profile in a sliding point contact are investigated by means of optical interferometry. The defects, formed on the surface of a highly polished ball, are held stationary at various locations within and in the vicinity of the contact region while the disk is rotating. It is shown that the defects, having a geometry similar to what can be expected in practice, can dramatically change the film thickness which exists when no defects are present in or near the contact. This change in film thickness is mainly a function of the position of the defects in the inlet region, the geometry of the defects, the orientation of the defects in the case of grooves, and the depth of the defect relative to the central film thickness.

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