Surface roughness and/or surface imperfections are well known to significantly affect the performance of concentrated contacts. Any deviation from the smooth surface will act as a stress raiser for itself (bump) or of its neighborhood (dent), and will therefore reduce the fatigue life of the component it is part of. These imperfections can also act as initiation sites of other types of contact failure such as scuffing, when contact conditions such as load, speed and film thickness become more and more severe. With the help of increasing computer speeds and more efficient numerical techniques, a theoretical analysis of the failure of concentrated contacts becomes possible. The full answer will involve many aspects of the contact, including the generation of heat, thermal response of the lubricant and solids, non-Newtonian as well as surface chemistry effects. This paper concentrates on the way the lubricant film thickness is affected by waviness and tries to identify the locations and the conditions where the film thickness is minimal. The lubrication of nonsmooth surfaces is a transient two-dimensional problem, which will be treated without any geometrical simplification. More precisely, this paper focuses on the influence of rolling speed and the slide-to-roll ratio on the film thickness separating a smooth surface and one with transverse waviness.

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