A new experimental method to estimate the compliances induced by the compression of smooth steel balls and rollers of different sizes, between two rigid flat smooth surfaces, is presented. When a single-degree-of-freedom system is brought into contact with an elastic body whose mass can be neglected, the system’s natural frequency will increase by virtue of the additional stiffness produced due to contact with the elastic body. If the system’s natural frequency is measured with and without contact with such elastic body, at different applied normal loads, it is possible to calculate the corresponding body stiffness and compliance is then obtained. A simple test rig has been built to investigate the feasibility of this approach. A comparison of the theoretically calculated values of compliances, using Hertz theory and the formula quoted by Palmgren with those determined experimentally, demonstrates the applicability of this new technique and shows good accuracy.

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