thrust rolling bearing, laser surface texturing, direct laser interference patterning, zinc dialkyldithiophosphate (ZDDP), tribofilm


Laser surface texturing (LST) has been proven to improve the tribological performance of machine elements. The micro-scale patterns manufactured by LST may act as lubricant reservoirs, thus supplying oil when encountering insufficient lubrication. However, not many studies have investigated the use of LST in the boundary lubrication regime, likely due to concerns of higher contact stresses that can occur with the increasing surface roughness. This study aims to examine the influence of LST on the fatigue lifetime of thrust rolling bearings under boundary lubrication. A series of periodic patterns were produced on the thrust rolling bearings, using two geometrically different designs, namely cross and dimple patterns. Base oil ISO VG 100 mixed with 0.05 wt% P of zinc dialkyldithiophosphate (ZDDP) was supplied. The bearings with cross patterns reduce the wear loss by two orders of magnitude. The patterns not only retain lubricant in the textured pockets but also enhance the formation of an anti-wear tribofilm. The tribofilm generation may be improved by the higher contact stresses that occur when using the textured surface. Therefore, in contrast to the negative concerns, the ball bearings with cross patterns were instead found to increase the fatigue life by a factor of three.


Tsinghua University Press

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