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Service Loading Analysis of Wind Turbine Gearbox Rolling Bearings based on X-ray Diffraction Residual Stress Measurements

By Jürgen Gegner and Wolfgang Nierlich


Abstract. Rolling bearings in wind turbine gearboxes occasionally fail prematurely by so-called white etching cracks. The appearance of the damage indicates brittle spontaneous tensile stress induced surface cracking followed by corrosion fatigue driven crack growth. An X-ray diffraction based residual stress analysis reveals vibrations in service as the root cause. The occurrence of high local friction coefficients in the rolling contact is described by a tribological model. Depth profiles of the equivalent shear and normal stresses are compared with residual stress patterns and a relevant fracture strength, respectively. White etching crack failures are reproduced on a rolling contact fatigue test rig under increased mixed friction. Causative vibration loading is evident from residual stress measurements. Cold working compressive residual stresses are an effective countermeasure

Topics: XRD material response analysis, wind turbines, rolling bearings, premature bearing failures, vibrations, micro friction model, rolling contact fatigue rig testing, cold working
Year: 2016
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