A small diamond disk mounted as a window in a steel plate was covered with test fluid, and a weighted steel ball was rotated over the window so as to form a sliding elastohydrodynamic (EHD) contact region. Some of the radiant energy generated in this region, both in the fluid and at the boundaries, passed through the window into an infrared interferometer, giving rise to an emission spectrum. This spectrum could be separated into contributions from the fluid and from the ball surface, making it possible, by appropriate calibrations, to estimate their temperatures separately under operating conditions. Moreover, the shape of the discrete spectral bands of the fluid permitted some inferences on its state. Two fluids were studied under identical mechanical conditions, a polyester and a naphthenic oil, each containing an equal amount of polymethylstyrene as a spectral indicator. Differences of band intensity, band width, and frequency could, therefore, be attributed to differences in the behavior of the base fluid. The principal results were much lower fluid temperatures and lower metal surface temperatures when the polyester was used than when the naphthenic oil was similarly used. Polyester films were also thicker and of higher density than naphthenic oil films under the same conditions. This work is only the beginning of a comprehensive study of EHD contacts by infrared spectroscopy, but the results already achieved lead to interesting speculations on the mechanisms of EHD processes, which further study is expected to elucidate.

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