There are several mechanisms contributing towards detrimental damage in wind turbine gearbox bearings, with sudden overload events believed to reduce their expected operational life. The generation of subsurface plasticity, followed by rolling contact fatigue, may lead to the initiation of either surface or subsurface cracking. This study presents a novel technique capable of measuring subsurface strain evolution in a rotating roller bearing, using energy dispersive X-ray diffraction. A pre-overloaded bearing was tested dynamically and consequently failed prematurely, supporting the hypothesis that overloads accelerate bearing failure. Throughout the test, an increase in compressive radial strain was observed, indicative of material softening, generally associated with the unstable stage of rolling contact fatigue, which occurs prior to definitive bearing failure.
- Bearing overload
- Rolling contact fatigue
- Stroboscopic strain
- Energy dispersive X-ray diffraction