Using modern EHL programs it is relatively simple to determine the pressures and clearances in rough EHL contacts. The pressures may then be used to calculate the subsurface stresses in the two contacting components. However, the results depend on the assumptions made about the fluid’s rheology. While it is possible to measure the clearances using interferometric techniques, measurement of either the pressures or stresses is extremely difficult. However it is these, rather than the clearances, that determine the life of the contact. In previous papers the authors have described how the inverse method may be used to validate the stress predictions for contacts with transverse roughness. This type of contact has fluid flow in only one plane and it remained necessary to check the results for more general rough surfaces where the flow is three-dimensional. Accordingly, the inverse method is extended, in this paper, to a situation where out-of-plane flow is significant. The paper describes the approach and presents some preliminary results for rolling contacts.

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