Development of Predictive Models for Spall Growth in Railroad Bearing Rolling Elements

University  The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV)
Principal Investigators  Robert Jones, Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering (PI)
Arturo Fuentes, Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering (Co-PI)
Constantine Tarawneh, Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering (Co-PI)
PI Contact Information  Mechanical Engineering
ENGR 3.246
Dept. (956) 665-2394
Office (956) 665-5019
Funding Source(s) and Amounts Provided (by each agency or organization)  Federal Funds (USDOT UTC Program): $52,424
Cost Share Funds (UTRGV): $26,756
Total Project Cost  $79,180
Agency ID or Contract Number  DTRT13-G-UTC59
Start and End Dates January 2015 — May 2017
Brief Description of Research Project  The mechanics of spall growth in a railroad rolling element bearing will be studied using a number of bearings with spalls of various sizes. Bearings undergoing simulated service life testing will be monitored and the developing spalls will be periodically measured. From this data, a model for spall growth as a function of bearing loading, speed, and mileage will be developed. The thermal signature and vibration response of bearings with the spalls will also be obtained during testing. This signal information will permit the eventual coupling of a model of spall growth to spall detection technology to permit economical scheduling of bearing replacement after spall detection without a reduction of safety margin. Given advancements in monitoring technologies which are likely to emerge in the near future, operators will be able to identify the initiation of a spall on a bearing in service. However, a bearing with a spall is not necessarily in danger of imminent failure. To minimize disruption to operations while providing the same level of accident prevention that early detection provides, it will be necessary to understand the growth process and the associated signals generated by various size spalls to permit timely and economical replacement of failing components.
Keywords spall growth, spall initiation, railroad bearing, tapered roller bearing, rolling element, service life testing, thermal signature, vibration, health monitoring
Describe Implementation of Research Outcomes (or why not implemented) Place Any Photos Here See the link under report.
Impacts/Benefits of Implementation (actual, not anticipated) See the link under report.

Link to thesis PDF

Project Website