Performance Prediction of Automotive Wheel Bearing Seals 2017-01-2525
The primary functions of bearing seals are to prevent lubrication from escaping and foreign material from entering, the effectiveness of which is determined by the design of the seal lips. Bearings with low friction rotation are in great demand in the automotive market as a direct result of enforced vehicle fuel economy and reduced CO2 emissions regulations. Therefore, bearings with good sealing function and low friction rotation are required. This makes designing a seal challenging as the ideologies of high seal-ability and low friction rotation tend to be contradictory. Current estimations of bearing seal friction or rotational torque require significant time and cost through empirical methods of trial and error. Research into the estimation of bearing rotational torque through numerical analysis, based on finite element methods, is the focal point of this paper. This development includes the calculation of bearing rotational torque using an axisymmetric model from the commercial software, ABAQUS. The seal rubber material properties were analyzed using hyperelastic methods for increased accuracy followed by seal rotational torque being calculated using the analysis results of the seal lip contact force. The theoretical results were compared to empirical results and strong correlation was confirmed.