This paper deals with an efficient 3D modelling of a radial ball bearing to predict the operating lubrication regime under mechanical loading and mounting conditions by using the Discrete Element Method (DEM). Due to the relevance of such an approach, especially for multicontact systems, the lubrication regime associated with specific operating conditions can be predicted accurately. By means of an elastohydrodynamic lubrication formulation depending on parameters related to the size of contact area, mechanical properties of materials, roughness and fluid viscosity, the lubricant film thickness is predicted and used to take into consideration the fluid film damping effect and friction coefficient variation. The lubrication regime can be identified according to Stribeck curve with the assumption of a piezo-viscous-elastic behaviour of the lubricant. The numerical simulations performed with MULTICOR-3D software on an operating ball bearing shown that the lubrication regime at the rolling element-raceway contact can be easily monitored and quantitatively identified. To assess the efficiency of the discrete modelling, a parametric study is carried out in order to exhibit how the operating conditions affect the lubrication regimes and the fluid film spread in the loaded zone. The adequacy between the choice of lubricant and the bearing tribofinition is sought to optimize the component lifetime.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited