Sliding wear is a significant surface failure mode in many mechanical components. The magnitude of changes in surface topography due to wear may be comparable to or larger than the original surface roughness and elastic deformation. However, wear has rarely been incorporated into the numerical models used as predictive tools in engineering practice. This paper presents a numerical approach to simulate the wear process based on the deterministic mixed elastohydrodynamic lubrication (EHL) model developed and modified by Zhu and Hu (2001, Tribol. Trans., 44, pp. 383–398). It is assumed that wear takes place at locations where the surfaces are in direct contact, and the wear rate at those local contact spots is proportional to the relative sliding speed, the local contact pressure, and inversely proportional to the hardness of the surface. At each simulation cycle, the distributions of lubricant film thickness and contact pressure are calculated by using the mixed EHL model. The material removal at each contact location is evaluated and the surface topography modified correspondingly. The renewed surface topography is then used for the next cycle. The model is formulated such that any mathematically expressed wear law can be implemented, and therefore, the simulation can be applied to a wide variety of engineering applications.

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