In elastohydrodynamic lubrication (EHL), one generally imposes force balance, i.e., the contact force resulting from the pressure in the contact is equal to the applied load. When studying the effect of structural vibrations, this force balance equation obviously does not hold and the more general equation of motion is required. In Wijnant and Venner (1996), an EHL contact model was introduced that incorporates both squeeze and entraining motion as well as the equation of motion. It was shown numerically that due to a small initial deviation or initial velocity, the rolling element starts an oscillatory motion around the equilibrium position. This motion is slightly damped because of the viscous losses in the lubricant. Moreover, it was shown that these oscillations cause film thickness modulations with a wavelength, directly related to the dimensionless frequency Ω. This paper compares results from experiments that were carried out on a ball and disk apparatus with results obtained with the EHL contact model. In this experiment, the applied load was rapidly increased by impacting a wedge between the base and the ball holder. This results in an increase of the contact area and, as a result of inertia forces of the ball, disk and supports, and oscillatory motion of the contacting bodies. Modulations in the film thickness which result from these oscillations, are clearly visible. The contact model was tailored to this experiment and a qualitatively close agreement has been found.

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