Rolling-sliding contact fatigue of surfaces with sinusoidal roughness

Wei Pu, Dong Zhu*, Jiaxu Wang, Q. Jane Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Surfaces of mechanical components under combined rolling and sliding motions may be subjected to accelerated contact fatigue failure due to increased number of microscopic stress cycles and pressure peak heights caused by rough-surface asperity contacts. Available rolling contact fatigue (RCF) theories were developed mainly for rolling element bearings, for which the effect of sliding is usually insignificant. In various types of gears, however, considerable sliding exist in the critical tooth contact area below the pitch line, where excessive wear and severe pitting failures originate. Ignorance of sliding is most likely the reason why the conventional RCF models often overestimate gear fatigue life. This paper studies the effect of sliding motion on the contact fatigue life of surfaces with sinusoidal roughness that mimicks the topography from certain manufacturing processes. A set of simple equations for stress cycle counting is derived. Mixed elastohydrodynamic lubrication simulations are executed with the considerations of normal loading and frictional shear. Relative fatigue life evaluations based on a subsurface stress analysis is conducted, taking into account the two sliding-induced mechanisms, which are the greatly increased number of stress cycles and the pressure peak heights due to surface interactions. Obtained results indicate that sliding leads to a significant reduction of contact fatigue life, and rough surface asperity contacts result in accelerated pitting failure that needs to be considered in life predictions for various mechanical components.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-68
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Fatigue
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


  • Contact fatigue
  • Contact fatigue life prediction
  • Elastohydrodynamic lubrication (EHL)
  • Mixed EHL
  • Rolling-sliding contact

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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