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PhD Project Title: Study of White Etching Crack In Bearing Steel Using Multi Sensing Technique

Aim To develop practical and appropriate sensing technique for white etching crack/white flaking structure Objectives 1. 2. To understand behaviour of white etching crack and its propagation. To determine and investigate sensing technique to detect the white etching crack behaviour. 3. To study the microstructural change and behaviour during the initiation and propagation of white etching crack and how it relates to the possibility of sensing technique to detect the phenomenon. 4. Understand the signal processing technique to analyse findings/signals obtained from multi sensing technique Introduction White etching area (WEA) is known as microstructural change behaviour of a material that due to rolling contact fatigue loading of a bearing. [1] It is important to know the information regarding crack initiation and its signal produced in terms of acoustic/stress in microstructure before the noticeable failure taking place. The bearing will not be safe if necessary action not taken to understand the premature nature of bearing failure [2]. Acoustic emission is regarded as the best option among other vibration technique/condition monitoring due to its robustness for low speed operation and practicality in detecting early deterioration of bearing. [3] Study by Kazuhiko et al, 2006 concluded based on their observation findings that White Etching Area (WEA) generate only in the hydrostatic compressive mode that initiated by the presence of microcrack and accompanied by nano-crystallization.[1] Hydrogen is found to be the primary driver for microcrack generation as well as taking part flaking in bearings accompanied by WEA. The other sources of hydrogen which could initiate White Etching Crack (WEC) in


normal operating condition of wind turbine gearbox bearings are from oil and additive systems, water contamination, hydrogen disassociation from corrosive, slip, traction etc. [4] Hydrogen absorption also produced crack initiation in the pre embrittlement microstructure by interfacial delamination at white etching band that is unnoticeable in pure rolling contact fatigue [5]. Literature Reviews There is new area of study on sensing of white etching crack detection of steel bearing as it is initiated on subsurface rather than surface. Mark Craig, 2010 studied the multi sensing (in line and off line) technique on rolling element bearing wear where some approaches proven to be successful in sensing the state of wear and deterioration of rolling element of steel bearing.[6] Acoustic Emission is found to be of practical means of detecting earlier stage of crack and its propagation as well as phase transformation through the stress wave signal released from material.[7]

Research Methodology:

1. Laboratory experiment will be using bearing test rig at NCATS laboratory with

multiple specimen/bearing under certain speed and loading condition. Practice on forming the white etching crack will be performed during the first 2 months using TE74S Microprocessor Controlled Two Roller Machine. This activity and task will be monitored and supervised by Dr Ling Wang and Martin Evans (PhD students currently doing project under Dr Lings supervison)

2. The use of bearing test rig will be the main apparatus lab rig for this project. The

equipment/test rig is based at NCATS Tribology Lab, Univ. of Southampton. The specimen of bearing steel will be the object under study. The aim of the experiment at bearing test rig is to generate white etching crack through rolling contact fatigue with the hydrogen embedded one of the drivers for white etching crack initiation.


3. Scanning Electron Microscopy Equipment will be used to study and analyse the

microstructural change/behaviour that occur during the transformation and crack initiation of white etching crack due to rolling contact fatigue.

4. Multi sensing approach that will include in line and off line methods will be used to

detect the deterioration due to white etching crack/white structure flaking of the steel bearing. In line sensing method will be utilizing acoustic emission technique, thermocouple, electrostatic charge and vibration monitoring. While off line method of sensing will utilize the scanning electron micrograph (SEM), eddy current method and ultrasonic inspection.

5. Analysis on tribology and microstructure change behaviour that relates to the detection

of signal by multisensing technique will be done. Theoretical phenomena in microstructure activity within the specimen will be analyzed in details to justify findings obtained from experiment.

References [1] Kazuhiko Hiraoka, Misaki Nagao, and Tatsuro Isomoto, Study on Flaking Process in Bearings by White Etching Area, Journal of ASTM International Vol. 3, No. 5, Paper ID JAI14059, 2006 [2] Walter Holweger, Frank Walther, Forg Loos and Marcus Wolf, Jurgen Schreiber, Werner Dreher, Norbert Kern and Steffen Lutz, Non destructive subsurface damage monitoring in bearings failure mode using fractal dimension analysis, Industrial Lubrication and Tribology, Volume 64, Number 3, 2012, 132-137 [3] Bin Lu, Yaoyu Li, Xin Wu and Zhongzhou Yang, A Review of Recent Advances in Wind Turbine Condition Monitoring and Fault Diagnosis, IEEE, 2009



M. H Evans, White structure flaking (WSF) in wind turbine gearbox bearings: effects of butterflies and white etching cracks (WECs), Materials Science and Technology, Vol 28, No 1, 2012


Jurgen Gegner, Tribological Aspects of Rolling Bearing Failures. Jrgen Gegner. SKF GmbH, Department of Material Physics. Institute of Material Science, University of Siegen, 2011


Mark Craig, Advanced Condition Monitoring To Predict Rolling Element Bearing Wear Using Multiple In Line and Off Line Sensing.


Van Boheman, S.M.C, Sietsma, J, Hermans, M.J.M Richardson, I.M, Kinetics of Martensitic Transformation in low alloy steel studied by means of acoustic emission, Acta Matter, 2003. 51(14) p. 4183-4196