A high-order polynomial gas distribution cam mechanism is investigated theoretically from the viewpoint of thermal elastohydrodynamic lubrication (EHL). First, a cam with a larger base circle radius is employed, which results in slide–roll ratio 2.0 < S < 9.0 when the two surfaces move oppositely. The pressure, film thickness, and temperature profiles at a number of angular positions of the cam are presented, together with the isothermal results. The comparison between thermal and isothermal oil characteristics is also shown. It is revealed that the isothermal analysis partly overestimates the actual film thickness and it also misses some essential local phenomena. Second, a cam with a smaller base circle radius is studied, which leads to drastic variations in the slide–roll ratio which encounters four times’ occurrences of infinity in one working period. The pressure, film thickness, and temperature profiles at some angular cam positions together with the oil characteristics are given, showing much dramatic variations. A very small film thickness is observed at the contact of the tappet with the start of the cam basic segment, which suggests a possible risk of direct contact of both surfaces.

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