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Investigation of white etching crack damage mechanism in wind turbine gearbox bearings


   Department of Mechanical Engineering


About the Project

Modern wind turbine gearbox bearings are failing prematurely, by white structure flaking and axial cracking, which may be caused by the propagation of subsurface white etching cracks (WECs). Their damage mechanism is currently not well understood; one hypothesis for WEC formation is that they initiate at subsurface defects, such as non-metallic inclusions.

This project will develop Rolling Contact Fatigue (RCF) testing programme of bearing steel samples to investigate effects of some key factors, including high contact pressure, impact loading, surface slip and their interactions with subsurface non-metallic inclusions, on WEC initiation and propagation. Damage characterisation on samples of field return bearings will be conducted by destructively sectioning and microstructural observation using optical microscopy, Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM). The damage characterisation will support the development of RCF testing programme to recreate WECs under controlled lab test conditions. The testing methodology and understanding obtained through this project will reach conclusions to verify the hypothesis of subsurface defect initiated WEC damage and its failure mechanism.

Funding Notes

1st or 2:1 degree in Engineering, Materials Science, Physics, Chemistry, Applied Mathematics, or other Relevant Discipline.

This project is available only for Self funded students.

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