The effect of surface roughness on shear stresses below the surface of an unlubricated Hertzian contact is analyzed using a three dimensional stress freezing photoelastic technique. The shear stresses in the micro-Hertzian contact in each asperity are shown to combine and form, at a greater depth below the surface, shear stresses generally associated with contact stress theory. These macro-Hertzian stresses are compared with the micro-Hertzian stresses in the asperities. The results are also correlated with an existing asperity contact theory and are discussed in relation to the contact fatigue phenomenon.

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