Investigation Into Microstructural Changes Due To The Rolling Contact Fatigue Of The AISI M50 Bearing Steel
Free (open access)
35 - 45
L. Pritz, S. Marsoner, R. Ebner, R. Fluch, A. Tatschl, R. Münzer
Roller bearings in aircraft turbines are commonly made of AISI M50 steel, because enhanced heat stability as well as highest reliability is required for this application. With a chemical composition of approximately 0.8 C, 4.0 Cr, 4.5 Mo, 1.0 V (all in wt.%) and using a specific vacuum melting and remelting technology for highest cleanliness M50 provides the best properties for such application. Despite some studies on this steel, there is still a lack of information on microstructural evolution during rolling contact fatigue (RCF). Hence, in order to get a better understanding of the microstructural evolution and as a consequence of the crack initiation, in the framework of this study a comprehensive set of experimental techniques were combined. For the RCF loading a so called ball-on-rod test was used. Microstructural alterations were analysed by various methods including optical light microscopy, confocal microscopy, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) with cross-sectional cutting by focussed ion beam (FIB), transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and microhardness measurements. Testing methods showed the build-up of a so-called white etching area (WEA) in a certain region below the raceway and the formation of butterfly-wings (BW) with micro-cracks at local microstructural inhomogeneity. Furthermore, all tested samples showed BW’s which initiated on carbides, often with micro-cracks near the boundary to the matrix.
bearing steel, M50, RCF, rolling contact fatigue, fatigue crack initiation, WEA, butterfly wings