Air-Melted Steel With Ultra-Low Inclusion Stringer Content Further Improves Bearing Fatigue Life
Economical steels with improved fatigue life performance continue to be sought for more demanding applications such as in the automotive and aerospace industries. Researchers at The Timken Company, pursuing improved fatigue performance in tapered roller bearings, have found that life is limited by large inclusion stringers that still exist in today's highly publicized steels. Stringers, by definition, are clusters of individual oxide particles observable in wrought steel. An ultrasonic method has been used to quantify the frequency of these stringers in steel in bearing components. The total length of these stringers has been correlated with bearing fatigue life. The use of this ultrasonic tool has expedited the development of the newly introduced Parapretnium™ steel. This air-melted steel has a stringer content less than nearly all of the other worldwide bearing steels evaluated and, in fact, its stringer content is approaching those low levels found only in vacuum-remelted steels.