A theoretical study has been made of the elastohydrodynamic small strain behavior of lubricants in line and point contacts. The model for the lubricants is more realistic than those proposed to date and involves a reformulation of the Maxwell model in terms of a Volterra convolution integral equation. In addition to being more physically appealing, the approach can be easily generalized to describe coupled structural and shear relaxation of a nonexponential nature. The calculations predict that certain mineral oils change from exhibiting compressional viscoelastic to elastic behavior at maximum contact pressures and rolling speeds of order 0.5 GPa and 1.0 m/s.

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