Thursday, May 3, 2001
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 last week 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
Currently, scientists at SKF are developing detailed calculations
that take into account lubricant film thickness and roughness of the surfaces of
the contact area. Further work is already underway to map the relationship
between pit size, shape, and distribution and bearing performance for different
The result, says Ioannides, will be products with reduced
running-in, low friction, and longer life.