A Full-system Finite Element Approach to Elastohydrodynamic Lubrication Problems: Application to Ultra-low-viscosity Fluids

2008 - 153 pagina's
In this thesis, a full-system finite element approach to elastohydrodynamic (EHD) lubrication problems is introduced. EHD lubrication is a full-film regime where the pressure generated in the conjunction is high enough to induce a significant elastic deformation of the contacting bodies. Hence, it involves a strong coupling between hydrodynamic and elastic effects. The non-linear system formed by the Reynolds', linear elasticity and load balance equations is solved using a fully-coupled Newton-Raphson procedure. This approach provides outstanding convergence rates when compared with the semi-system one. A penalty method is used to handle the cavitation problem that arises at the outlet of the contact. Appropriate stabilized formulations are used to extend the solution to the case of highly loaded contacts. The resolution process is then extended to account for non-Newtonian behaviour of the lubricant and for thermal effects. The developed model is used to study the behaviour of EHD contacts lubricated with Ultra-Low-Viscosity Fluids. The use of such fluids as lubricants provides two main advantages: first, the frictional energy dissipation in the contact is reduced and second, in machines that work with a low viscosity operational fluid and a lubricant, the former can be used to fulfil both functions and thus the design and maintenance of such machines would become easier and their performance would be improved.

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