Transient thermal effects and heat partition in sliding contacts

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In tribological applications, calculating the contact temperature between contacting surfaces makes it possible to estimate lubricant failure and effectiveness, material failure, and other phenomena. The contact temperature can be divided into two scales: the macroscopic and the microscopic scales. In this article, a semi-analytical transient temperature model is presented, which can be used at both scales. The general theory is presented here and used to calculate the contact temperatures of single micro- and macrocontacts. For the steady state situation, the results obtained are in good agreement with those found in literature. Further, it is shown that the simplification of modeling a microcontact as an equivalent square uniform heat source to simplify the calculation of the maximum temperature is justified in the fully plastic regime. The partition is calculated by setting a continuity condition on the temperature field over the contact. From the results, it can be concluded that at low sliding velocities the steady state assumption, which is often used for microcontacts, is correct. However, at higher sliding velocities, the microcontact is not in the steady state and transient calculation methods are advised.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of tribology - Transactions of the ASME
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • METIS-264913
  • IR-73880

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