In this paper, the experimental results of interfacial fluid pressure and friction measurements during polishing are presented, as well as their dependence on some major process variables. Under simulated conditions, a sub-ambient fluid pressure was observed, and its magnitude was of the same order of magnitude as the applied polishing load. Since this fluid pressure is non-uniformly distributed, the contact stress, obtained by combining the effects of both applied load and the fluid pressure, is not uniform across the wafer and will result in non-uniform material removal. The mechanism of the presence of the fluid pressure was investigated, and an analytical model was developed to predict the magnitude and distribution of this fluid pressure. The effects of the sub-ambient fluid pressure on material removal rate and profile were tested with thermally grown silicon dioxide on 100mm diameter, P-type (100), single crystal silicon wafers. The polishing experiments show the effect of sub-ambient fluid pressure on polishing rate and profile.