Development of Special Heat Treatment to Improve the Bearing Fatigue Life
A new technique of heat treatment is developed for the bearings of automotive transmission and chassis to maximize their service life under contaminated and severe environments. This study demonstrates an improvement of the microstructure of bearing steels by applying special heat treatments. The microstructure is developed by optimizing various heat treating parameters (temperature, cycle time and gas atmosphere, etc.) as well as by modifying the quenching processes (double quenching and press quenching). We obtained a desirable microstructure of dense and fine martensite with optimum levels of retained austenite and compressive residual stress on the subsurface. The size and distribution of carbides and grains are found to be very fine and homogeneous. The endurance test results show that the specimens with new treatment have an excellent fatigue life compared with the conventional bearing samples.