A two-dimensional model of a surface initiated rolling contact fatigue crack has been developed. The model takes into account the effects of frictional locking between the faces of the crack, and the influence of fluid pressure acting on the crack faces. The model has been used to investigate three possible mechanisms for propagating the cracks: mode II crack growth due to the cyclic shear stresses caused by repeated rolling contact; crack growth due to fluid forced into the crack by the load; and crack growth due to fluid trapped inside the crack. The predictions of the theory are compared with the behaviour of contact fatigue cracks.

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