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Evolution of White Etching Bands in 100Cr6 Bearing Steel under Rolling Contact-Fatigue

1
School of Materials Science and Engineering, Beihang University, No. 37 Xueyuan Road, Haidian District, Beijing 100083, China
2
Department of Engineering, Engineering Building, Lancaster University, Lancashire LA1 4YW, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Metals 2019, 9(5), 491; https://doi.org/10.3390/met9050491
Received: 31 March 2019 / Revised: 20 April 2019 / Accepted: 23 April 2019 / Published: 27 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bearing Steels)
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Abstract

The formation of white etching bands (WEBs) occurs at the subsurface of rolling contact-fatigued bearing inner rings, exhibiting microstructural decay detrimental to bearing life. Despite the fact that WEBs have been observed in bearing steels for nearly 70 years, the understanding of WEB formation is still limited and mostly qualitative. Therefore, a systematic investigation is carried out in this research to reveal the evolution of WEBs with respect to the number of contact cycles. WEBs formed at different stages are reproduced by full-scale bearing RCF tests with predetermined numbers of cycles. Multi-scale characterisation techniques such as optical microscopy, micro-indentation, scanning and transmission electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy are conducted on the microstructural alterations to study the development and microstructure of WEBs. WEBs are found in the absence of dark etching regions which is attributed to the heat treatment. With an increasing number of cycles, WEBs grow in number density and in all three dimensions, and their formation is found to be controlled by the maximum shear stress component. Ferrite bands within WEBs that contain dislocation cells manifest accumulated plastic strain in the material. Based on the characterisation results, the evolution of plastic strain under RCF is quantified. View Full-Text
Keywords: bearing steels; rolling contact-fatigue; white etching bands; lenticular carbides; microstructural alterations; martensite decay; dislocation density estimation bearing steels; rolling contact-fatigue; white etching bands; lenticular carbides; microstructural alterations; martensite decay; dislocation density estimation
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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 (CC BY 4.0).
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Fu, H.; Rivera-Díaz-del-Castillo, P.E.J. Evolution of White Etching Bands in 100Cr6 Bearing Steel under Rolling Contact-Fatigue. Metals 2019, 9, 491.

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