Browse Publications Technical Papers 2024-01-3045

Establishing a method of optimizing wheel bearing outer ring design for bearing life using a surrogate model 2024-01-3045

Wheel bearings play a critical role in providing smooth rotation when vehicles move in straight line and turning motions. If a wheel bearing catastrophically fails, there is the possibility of vehicle damage or even personal injury. Since this is the case, wheel bearings require a higher level of reliability and robustness. With the drive towards a carbon neutral society against the background of global warming in recent years, the demand for light weighting and lower friction for wheel bearings has become a priority. Weight reductions will cause larger deformation of each bearing component, and especially raceway deformation of the outer ring will impact bearing life. Therefore, optimization of the outer ring geometry is required to meet bearing life requirements and to achieve a lightweight design. In this research, we clarified not only the relationship between outer ring raceway deformation and multiple outer ring geometries under turning load using FEM (Finite Element Method) but also between the outer ring shape and bearing life. After performing FEM for multiple outer ring shapes by design of experiments, we calculated both deformation in the raceway and bearing life. As a result, we can predict bearing life given deformation of the outer ring, defining each dimension in the outer ring as design variable using the response surface method. We established the method to optimize outer ring geometry by the derivation of a surrogate model. In the future, by utilizing this method, there is the possibility to design outer rings more efficiently, when taking weight reduction into consideration. Tatsuya Kitada, Makoto Seki, and Hironori Imanaka


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