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Title: Rolling contact fatigue of silicon nitride
Author: Wang, W.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2699 5413
Awarding Body: Bournemouth University
Current Institution: Bournemouth University
Date of Award: 2010
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Silicon Nitride has traditionally been used as rolling contact bearing material owing to its superior performance compared to bearing steels. Its successful application as a bearing element has led to the development of Silicon Nitride in other rolling contact applications in the automotive industry and the power industry. However, a major limitation of its wider application is its high material and machining cost, especially the cost associated with the finishing process. In the present study, a low cost sintered and reaction-bonded Silicon Nitride is used to study the surface machining effects on its rolling contact fatigue performance. Studies have been carried out to link the surface strengths of Silicon Nitride derived from half-rod and C-Sphere flexure strength specimens to the rolling contact lives of Silicon Nitride rod and ball specimens. The rolling contact fatigue tests were carried out on ball-on-rod and modified four-ball machines. Three types of surface with coarse, fine and RCF-conventional finishing conditions were examined. Flexure strength tests on half-rod and C-Sphere showed an increasing surface strength from specimens with coarse, fine to RCF-conventionally machined conditions. During rolling contact fatigue tests of as-machined specimens, no failures were observed on either ball-on-rod or four-ball tests after 100 million stress cycles. However, a trend of decreasing wear volumes was measured on the contact path of rods and balls with coarse, fine and RCF-conventional conditions. In four-ball tests, spall failures were observed on pre-cracked specimens. There was a trend of increasing rolling contact fatigue lifetime from pre-cracked specimens with coarse, fine to RCF-conventional machining conditions. The study of Silicon Nitride machining was also carried out using an eccentric lapping machine to investigate the effect of eccentricity on the finishing rate of hot isostatically-pressed and sintered and reaction-bonded Silicon Nitride. The eccentricity had no significant impact on finishing rate as concluded in this study. The effect of lubricant viscosity and chemistry on the rolling contact fatigue performance of Silicon Nitride was also studied. The result is inconclusive.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: General Engineering