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An air blower in an electric power plant failed unexpectedly when a roller bearing in the drive motor fractured along its outer ring. Both rings, as well as the 18 rolling elements, were made from GCr15 bearing steel. The bearing also included a machined brass (MA/C3) cage and was packed with molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) lithium grease. Metallurgical structures and chemical compositions of the bearing’s matrix materials were inspected using a microscope and photoelectric direct reading spectrometer. SEM/EDS was used to examine the local morphology and composition of fracture and contact surfaces. Chemical and thermal properties of the bearing grease were also examined. The investigation revealed that the failure was caused by wear due to dry friction and impact, both of which worsened as a result of high-temperature degradation of the bearing grease. Fatigue cracks initiated in the corners of the outer ring and grew large enough for a fracture to occur.

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Zhi-Qiang Yu, Zhen-Guo Yang, Failure Analysis of Fatigue Fracture on the Outer Ring of a Cylindrical Roller Bearing in an Air Blower Motor, Handbook of Case Histories in Failure Analysis, Vol 3, Edited By Larry Berardinis, ASM International, 2019, p 550–558,

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