This article describes experimental and theoretical studies on the cavitation phenomena in the grease lubrication film under pure sliding elastohydrodynamic contact. In situ observation tests using the optical interferometry technique were conducted, and the growth of cavitation was captured using a high-speed camera. The results showed that the cavity grew in two stages, which was similar to the behavior in the base oil, and that the cavity growth rate in the initial stage was higher than that in the second stage. In the initial stage, the cavity growth time in the grease was longer than that in the base oil, and the cavity length after the growth depended on the base oil viscosity. It was also found in the test using diurea grease that small cavities were formed by the lumps of thickener. The cavity growth in the initial stage was discussed by numerical simulation of pressure distribution based on a simple rheological model.
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