Hannover, Germany Up until now, conventional thinking was that smooth surface conditions were most ideal for bearings. In fact, engineers went to great lengths to reduce grooves and surface imperfections, and based their theories primarily on smooth film calculations.
Recent findings by researchers at SKF's Engineering and Research Centre (Utrecht, The Netherlands) however, suggest that surface grooves or pit may not be at all bad in some bearing applications. Stathis Ioannides, group product R&D director at SKF, presented the company's findings in a press conference at the Hannover Fair in Hannover Germany.
"In some cases, oil-carrying pits or grooves can actually help because they bring additional oil into the contact area, which can help to prevent surface damage, which in turn leads to longer bearing life," said Ioannides.
Currently, scientists at SKF are developing detailed calculations that take into account lubricant film thickness and roughness of the surfaces of the contact area.