Failure Analysis and Prevention
Rolling-element bearings use rolling elements interposed between two raceways, and relative motion is permitted by the rotation of these elements. This article presents an overview of bearing materials, bearing-load ratings, and an examination of failed bearings. Rolling-element bearings are designed on the principle of rolling contact rather than sliding contact; frictional effects, although low, are not negligible, and lubrication is essential. The article lists the typical characteristics and causes of several types of failures. It describes failure by wear, failure by fretting, failure by corrosion, failure by plastic flow, failure by rolling-contact fatigue, and failure by damage. The article discusses the effects of fabrication practices, heat treatment and hardness of bearing components, and lubrication of rolling-element bearings with a few examples.