A means of evaluating the surface roughness effect on contact fatigue life has been proposed. To account for stress variations caused by random surface roughness, an effective stress concept based on damage accumulation theory was employed. A point EHL analysis along with a comprehensive interior stress analysis has been performed to obtain the effective stress field under lubricated conditions. Numerical simulations were performed for surfaces produced by different finishing processes. Results show that surface roughness can cause significant stress variations in the near-surface. As a result, the effective stress at the near-surface is increased. The increased effective stress is responsible for the life reduction of the contact. Life reduction factors for contact surfaces with different finishing processes were compared.

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