Assessing and Predicting the Performance of Bearings in Debris Contaminated Lubrication Environment 1999-01-2791
Many lubrication environments in various equipment applications are inherently contaminated with debris and require mechanical components that are, as much as possible, resistant to the potential detrimental effects of debris particles. Many design engineers and lubricant specialists often overlook potential relationships between the various component failure modes, lubricant debris contamination level and the engineering solutions that are created to overcome them. Various methods for evaluating the effectiveness of debris resistant bearings have been proposed for development. Some of these methods have become standard methods within each bearing manufacturer's organization. Using an experimental method, performance evaluation results of tapered roller bearings in the areas of material fatigue will be discussed. The potential performance advantages will be placed in context of understanding the performance needs in the application.
Once evaluation methods are well established to select bearings and component materials, the user is faced with assessing severity and detrimental effects of a specific application's lubricant contamination on bearing performance. Many analysis tools have been suggested for determining this impact, including particle analysis for size distribution, type of material and contamination level. A novel approach for determining severity of damage has been investigated which attempts to integrate these typical tools with actual damage to functional surfaces. It seeks to provide a practical approach and is appropriately labeled Debris Signature Analysis(SM). Data from these surface analysis methods will be used to briefly demonstrate a new bearing life prediction model.