The scuffing failure of a sliding contact is a complicated process, involving physics, chemistry, and mechanical science. No comprehensive theory has yet been formulated; the published work consists of studying each aspect independently. The objective of this paper is to present a thermoelastic instability theory of scuffing for elliptic contact between sliding surfaces. From this analylsis, the condition for which instability occurs is obtained. The approximate equation includes the effects of load, speed, coefficient of friction and material properties and can be used as an estimate to prevent scuffing failure. The results calculated from this equation are shown to provide satisfactory agreement with available experimental data.

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