Numerical methods were used to determine the effects of lubricant starvation on the minimum film thickness under conditions of a hydrodynamic point contact. Starvation was effected by varying the fluid inlet level. The Reynolds boundary conditions were applied at the cavitation boundary and zero pressure was stipulated at the meniscus or inlet boundary. The analysis is considered valid for a range of speeds and loads for which thermal, piezoviscous, and deformation effects are negligible. It is applied to a wide range of geometries (i.e., from a ball-on-plate configuration to a ball in a conforming groove). Seventy-four cases were used to numerically determine a minimum-film-thickness equation as a function of the ratio of dimensionless load to dimensionless speed for varying degrees of starvation. From this, a film reduction factor was determined as a function of the fluid inlet level. Further, a starved fully flooded boundary was defined and an expression determining the onset of starvation was derived. As the degree of starvation was increased, the minimum film thickness decreased gradually until the fluid inlet level became critical. Reducing the fluid inlet level still further led to a sharp decrease in the minimum film thickness. An expression determining the critically starved fluid inlet level was derived. The changes in the inlet pressure buildup due to changing the available lubricant supply are presented in the form of three-dimensional isometric plots and also in the form of contour plots.

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