A non-destructive experimental approach was adapted to investigate the variations in residual stress fields within thermal spray coatings. WC-Co coatings produced by a HVOF technique were considered for concentrated rolling sliding contacts in this study. These coatings were produced in various thicknesses on various substrates. Residual stress measurements were made using an x-ray diffraction technique, along and across the rolling direction. A modified four-ball machine was used to conduct rolling contact fatigue tests under various tribological conditions of contact stress, lubrication and contact configuration. Residual stress measurements were made before and after the tribological tests. Failed rolling elements were analyzed using scanning electron microscopy, electron probe microscopy and surface interferometry. Results indicate that the magnitude of compressive residual stress attenuates during fatigue failure. The magnitude of attenuated residual stress was dependent upon the type of tribological failure. This attenuation of residual stress was attributed to the microcracking of coating under the influence of contact stress.

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