This paper presents a numerical solution for the elastohydrodynamic lubrication in point contacts, using optically measured three-dimensional rough surface profiles as input data. The multi-grid computer program originally developed by Ai and Cheng (1993, 1994) is modified, so that both contacting surfaces can be three-dimensional measured rough surfaces moving at different velocities. Many different engineering surfaces are measured and analyzed in the present study, demonstrating that the numerical analysis is practical for real surfaces of bearings, cams, gears and other components, as long as a significant EHL film still exists. In addition, discussions are given in this paper for the effects of three-dimensional rough surface topography, which is related to machining process. It appears that, for the circular contact cases analyzed, surface roughness texture and orientation do not have a significant effect on the average film thickness, but they do affect the maximum pressure peak height and asperity deformation in the contact zone considerably.

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