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Rolling-contact fatigue (RCF) is a common failure mode in components subjected to rolling or rolling-sliding contact. This article provides a basic understanding of RCF and a broad overview of materials and manufacturing techniques commonly used in industry to improve component life. A brief discussion on coatings to improve surface-initiated fatigue and wear is included, due to the similarity to RCF and the increasing criticality of this failure mode. The article presents a working knowledge of Hertzian contact theory, describes the life prediction of rolling-element bearings, and provides information on physics and testing of rolling-contact fatigue. Processes commonly used to produce bearings for demanding applications are also covered.

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