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The evolution of white etching cracks (WECs) in rolling contact fatigue-tested 100Cr6 steel

The evolution of white etching cracks (WECs) in rolling contact fatigue-tested 100Cr6 steel
The evolution of white etching cracks (WECs) in rolling contact fatigue-tested 100Cr6 steel

The formation of white etching cracks (WECs) in steel rolling element bearings can lead to the premature rolling contact fatigue (RCF) failure mode called white structure flaking. Driving mechanisms are still debated but are proposed to be combinations of mechanical, tribochemical and electrical effects. A number of studies have been conducted to record and map WECs in RCF-tested samples and bearings failed from the field. For the first time, this study uses serial sectioning metallography techniques on non-hydrogen charged test samples over a range of test durations to capture the evolution of WEC formation from their initiation to final flaking. Clear evidence for subsurface initiation at non-metallic inclusions was observed at the early stages of WEC formation, and with increasing test duration the propagation of these cracks from the subsurface region to the contact surface eventually causing flaking. In addition, an increase in the amount of associated microstructural changes adjacent to the cracks is observed, this being indicative of the crack being a prerequisite of the microstructural alteration.

Bearing failure, Rolling contact fatigue, Rolling element bearings, White etching area, White etching cracks, Wind turbine gearbox bearings
1023-8883
1-23
Richardson, A.D.
40eeca5e-4ca0-46a9-96a5-4050aae7c849
Evans, M.H.
516687bf-2909-4b2d-96ac-0748a845068f
Wang, L.
c50767b1-7474-4094-9b06-4fe64e9fe362
Wood, R.J.K.
0a258dd5-9409-4619-92bc-6ad02453a856
Ingram, M.
7f8e9d51-dad9-44d1-97b2-3c18894003f4
Meuth, B.
b5ee2e8e-e0c5-4a0f-9a21-f923c4118b32
Richardson, A.D.
40eeca5e-4ca0-46a9-96a5-4050aae7c849
Evans, M.H.
516687bf-2909-4b2d-96ac-0748a845068f
Wang, L.
c50767b1-7474-4094-9b06-4fe64e9fe362
Wood, R.J.K.
0a258dd5-9409-4619-92bc-6ad02453a856
Ingram, M.
7f8e9d51-dad9-44d1-97b2-3c18894003f4
Meuth, B.
b5ee2e8e-e0c5-4a0f-9a21-f923c4118b32

Richardson, A.D., Evans, M.H., Wang, L., Wood, R.J.K., Ingram, M. and Meuth, B. (2018) The evolution of white etching cracks (WECs) in rolling contact fatigue-tested 100Cr6 steel. Tribology Letters, 66 (1), 1-23. (doi:10.1007/s11249-017-0946-1).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The formation of white etching cracks (WECs) in steel rolling element bearings can lead to the premature rolling contact fatigue (RCF) failure mode called white structure flaking. Driving mechanisms are still debated but are proposed to be combinations of mechanical, tribochemical and electrical effects. A number of studies have been conducted to record and map WECs in RCF-tested samples and bearings failed from the field. For the first time, this study uses serial sectioning metallography techniques on non-hydrogen charged test samples over a range of test durations to capture the evolution of WEC formation from their initiation to final flaking. Clear evidence for subsurface initiation at non-metallic inclusions was observed at the early stages of WEC formation, and with increasing test duration the propagation of these cracks from the subsurface region to the contact surface eventually causing flaking. In addition, an increase in the amount of associated microstructural changes adjacent to the cracks is observed, this being indicative of the crack being a prerequisite of the microstructural alteration.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 30 October 2017
e-pub ahead of print date: 27 November 2017
Published date: 1 March 2018
Keywords: Bearing failure, Rolling contact fatigue, Rolling element bearings, White etching area, White etching cracks, Wind turbine gearbox bearings

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 417459
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/417459
ISSN: 1023-8883
PURE UUID: 4647e15f-9a69-467e-8f2f-4b550337c955
ORCID for L. Wang: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-2894-6784

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 31 Jan 2018 17:30
Last modified: 06 Oct 2018 00:36

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