The interaction of a Hertzian contact, including friction, with an angled surface-breaking crack is studied with a view toward qualitatively explaining certain aspects of rolling contact fatigue. Cyclic loading and unloading of the surface crack, which is assumed to be embedded in a rolling wheel, is simulated by assuming that stresses having a Hertzian distribution travel across the half space such that one passage is equivalent to one cycle of rolling. By increasing the crack’s length and calculating the stress intensity factor, an estimate of the fatigue life can be determined.

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