An article published in « Case Studies in Engineering Failure Analysis » .
A bearing, can fail prematurely due to a variety of factors like wrong choice of a design for the application, lack of or inadequate lubrication, impact loads, vibrations, environmental factors like operating temperature, corrosive media, moisture, dirt or handling abuse during transport, mounting, reinstallation and servicing.
Two case studies are presented here wherein abusive handling likely caused premature fatigue failure of ball bearings.
Read the full text of an article reported on NASA Technical Reports Server
Ball bearings used inside the ISS Distillation Assembly centrifuge require superior corrosion and shock resistance to withstand acidic wastewater exposure and heavy spacecraft launch related loads. These requirements challenge conventional steel bearings and provide an ideal pathfinder application for 50-mm bore, deep-groove ball bearings made from the corrosion immune and highly elastic intermetallic material 60NiTi. During early ground testing in 2014 one 60NiTi bearing unexpectedly and catastrophically failed after operating for only 200 hr. A second bearing running on the same shaft was completely unaffected. An investigation into the root cause of the failure determined that an excessively tight press fit of the bearing outer race coupled with NiTi’s relatively low elastic modulus were key contributing factors. The proposed failure mode was successfully replicated by experiment. To further corroborate the root cause theory, a successful bearing life test using improved installation practices (selective fitting) was conducted. The results show that NiTi bearings are suitable for space applications provided that care is taken to accommodate their unique material characteristics.
This article documents the metallurgical evaluation of a rolling element bearing that failed due to electrical discharge damage. This rolling element bearing was used in a helicopter turbine engine that failed in-flight, resulting in a hard landing of the helicopter. Optical and electron microscopy as well as energy dispersive spectroscopy were used to evaluate the bearing. Pitting and material transfer on the external bearing races bearing and mating surfaces revealed that the electrical discharge damage occurred while the engine’s components were not rotating.
A new case study via ScienceDirect.com –Rolling element bearing failure analysis. This paper addresses Rolling Contact Fatigue (RCF) occurs due to the result of cyclic stress developed during operation and mechanism that involve in fretting failure of rolling element bearing. As bearing raceways of non-rotating rolling element bearings exposed to vibration or sliding oscillation false Brinelling occurs. Bearing surface due to false Brinelling tends to damage within a short period, due to cavities created on the bearing raceway. Recommendation towards enhancement of bearing life is also suggested.