In thick-film lubrication, Reynolds’ equation is generally satisfactory. However, the assumptions made in deriving this equation cannot be justified for non-Newtonian, viscoelastic liquids. It is concluded that no satisfactory mathematical treatment is yet available for calculating the load-carrying capacity of such liquids. In thin-film lubrication, elastohydrodynamic calculations indicate that the lubricant film may be quite thick even under heavily loaded conditions, but discrepancies exist between calculation and experiment. These can be explained by assuming non-Newtonian behavior, or unusual viscoelastic effects, but the assumptions are largely unfounded. There is virtually a complete absence of data on the behavior of liquids under impact loading. Such data are needed to resolve whether thin-film lubrication is primarily chemical or primarily physical.

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