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Carbonitrided Rolling Bearings

Longer operating life under boundary lubrication

and contamination
Longer operating life under boundary lubrication and contamination

Carbonitrided rolling bearings

Carbonitriding increases the fatigue It can be seen in the micrograph that

limit life under both these boundary the carbides adopt an elongated needle
lubrication conditions and under good form. They are not only embedded but
lubrication conditions. accumulate at the grain boundaries.
This increases the risk of crack
Alternatively, carbonitriding gives
a means of achieving a given rating life
even when using smaller bearings The process of carbonitriding influences
(downsizing). the form and the distribution of
the carbides. The carbides become
New materials

smaller and spheroidal.

For carbonitrided bearings, specially
Their distribution is more homogenous
Figure 1: Carbonitrided rolling bearing developed base materials are used that
with black oxide coated rings and less concentrated at the grain
are matched to the heat treatment.
boundaries. The risk of crack formation
These are through hardened steels or
The Schaeffler Group carries out is reduced. With increasing carbon and
case hardened steels.
ongoing research into new materials nitrogen content in the rolling bearing
and methods for materials treatment Changes to the molecular structure steel, the martensite start point
in order to offer higher performance Carbonitriding changes the molecular decreases. The heat treatment process
bearing solutions, Figure 1. structure in the surface layer of leads to more thermally stable residual

Carbonitriding is an expanded heat the material, Figure 2. austenite. Due to the higher toughness
of the residual austenite, the bearing
treatment method. In addition, nitrogen During the carburising of steel,
rating life is increased.
is deposited in the surface layer of the the carbide is distributed as coarse
bearing rings. This method increases grains in the material.
the surface hardness and improves the
wear resistance of the bearing.

Due to the harder surface, the bearing

is less sensitive to contaminants in
the lubricant and to damage through
particle overrolling. If optimum
lubrication is not present, a lubricant
film separating the surfaces cannot be

Under this boundary lubrication,

mixed friction may occur and lead to
000 1754B

bearing damage.
Figure 2: Micrographs of case hardened steels and carbonitrided steels
Contamination and particle overrolling This allows higher load to be achieved In those cases where there is no

If there are particularly hard and sharp- with the same rating life or a longer additional design space due to design

edged contaminants in the rolling rating life under the same load. restrictions, increased performance

bearing greases, such as hardened density is required. In some cases,

Longer rating life and downsizing
metal particles or moulding sand the higher performance capacity of
Carbonitrided bearings can therefore
fragments, these are pressed into carbonitrided bearings allows the use of
also be used under good lubrication
the raceways by the overrolling action smaller bearing positions or so-called
conditions where a longer bearing rating
of the rolling element. The displaced downsizing. Through this optimisation,
life is required.
material forms a rim around the frictional torque can be significantly

the indented depression. With each reduced, which leads to significant

overrolling cycle, an area of increased decreases in CO2 emission.

stress is formed at the location of the rim

and the rolling bearing steel undergoes
rapid fatigue, Figure 3.

The carbonitriding leads to more stable

residual austenite. Due to the higher 3
10 m 4
toughness of the raceway surface,
1 m
the rim is flattened again and crack 2 5 5
formation is prevented, Figure 4.
1 6
Mixed friction

If lubrication is insufficient, a lubricant

7 00018016
film separating the surfaces is not
formed and undesirable steel-to-steel Figure 3: Schematic of the stress increase zone
Raceway, Rolling element, Raised edge due to indented particle, Lubricant film
contact takes place. In addition to thickness, Stress increase, Plastic deformation, strain hardening, Residual stress buildup
the increased bearing temperature,
1 2
which leads to more rapid ageing
of the lubricant, the raceway surface
may undergo fusing and damage.

The heat treatments influence

the compressive residual stresses
near the surface such that the stresses
generated through overrolling in
operation are reduced.
000 1754F

Figure 4: After 40 hours of overrolling, a crack is formed at the indentation point without carbonitriding
After 1500 hours of overrolling, there is still no sign of a crack in carbonitrided bearings
Application examples Application examples

Carbonitrided bearings are particularly Wear due to Rating Contamination and Downsizing
mixed friction life particle overrolling
suitable where long rating life and high Gearboxes
machine availability are to be achieved Pumps and compressors
Connecting rods
despite difficult operating conditions.
Steel, rolling mills
Marine propulsion systems
This performance capacity is
demonstrated by carbonitrided bearings
in many applications:

gearboxes in agricultural and

construction machinery, cars,
commercial vehicle and wind

pumps and compressors

connecting rods in internal

combustion engines

rolling mill equipment

marine propulsion systems.

Summary Carbonitriding leads to finer and more Carbonitrided rolling bearings offer the

Carbonitrided rolling bearings are spheroidal carbides that are distributed customer high reliability and machine

the result of intensive research work and more uniformly in the material. availability.

offer customers advantages over As a result, the raceway surface is harder

Further information is available from our
standard bearings in many respects. and more resistant to wear. In tests,
employees in Sales, External Sales and
carbonitrided bearings achieved a rating
The increased residual austenite the relevant Applications functions.
life two to six times longer than standard
content improves the resistance
bearings even under full lubrication,
of the bearing to contaminants in
Figure 5.
the lubricant. Carbonitriding changes
the molecular structure in the surface In difficult conditions or under heavy

layer of the material. The finer loads, mixed friction may occur if

microstructure gives increased material lubrication is insufficient. The wear

toughness. occurring as a result can be counter-

acted by the higher surface hardness in
The rims formed due to particle
conjunction with black oxide coating of
indentation are flattened again in
the running surfaces using Durotect B,
subsequent overrolling. Cracks are not
in order to prevent slippage damage.
formed and material fatigue is delayed
Carbonitrided bearings thus achieve
by a considerable margin.
a longer operating life even under
particularly adverse and challenging
operating conditions, Figure 6.

1 000 100
600 1 2

500 10
1 400 3
000 17552

000 17551

0 1
2 3 1 10 100 1 000 h 10 000

Figure 5: Bearing rating life full lubrication, Figure 6: Rating life test under mixed friction. Bearing with conventional heat treatment,
Standard, Carbonitrided Carbonitrided rolling bearing steel, Probability of failure (%), Running duration (h)
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Schaeffler Technologies GmbH & Co. KG

Georg-Schfer-Strae 30
97421 Schweinfurt (Germany)
Telephone +49 9721 91-0
Fax +49 9721 91-3435

Enquiry form Operating conditions

Mounting location: Load case 1: Time periods:

Rolling bearing type Axial force Fx [N]

Machine type Radial force Fy [N]

Mounting location Fz [N]

q1 = %
Country, region Bending moment Mx [Nm]

My [Nm]
Designation: Symbol:
Mz [Nm]
Force in x direction Fx
y direction Fy Speed [rpm]
z direction Fz
Moment about x axis Mx
Load case 2: Time periods:
y axis My
z axis Mz
Axial force Fx [N]

z Radial force Fy [N]

Mz Fz
Fz [N]
q2 = %
Fx Bending moment Mx [Nm]

x My [Nm]

My Mz [Nm]

Speed [rpm]
000 1754C

y Load case 3: Time periods:

Figure 7: Forces and moments
Axial force Fx [N]

Radial force Fy [N]

Fz [N]
q3 = %
Bending moment Mx [Nm]

My [Nm]

Mz [Nm]

Speed [rpm]
Operating conditions continued

What is rotating? Outer ring (AR) Operating temperature [C]

Inner ring (IR) Temperature difference between AR, IR [K]

Internal clearance in fitted condition [m]

Viscosity (ISO VG) [mm2/s]
Housing bore
Lubricant manufacturer

Material: Lubricant designation

Shaft Oil inlet temperature [C]

Housing bore Oil outlet temperature [C]

Filter rate
Type Oil sump
of lubrication
Recirculating oil Oil sump temperature [C]

Grease quantity [g]

Relubrication intervals [h]


Company name


Town, post code

Country, region



MATNR 036899119-0000 / SSD 22 / 02 / GB-D / 201301 / Printed in Singapore

Schaeffler Technologies Every care has been taken to ensure the

AG & Co. KG correctness of the information contained

Georg-Schfer-Strae 30 in this publication but no liability can be

97421 Schweinfurt accepted for any errors or omissions.
Germany We reserve the right to make technical
Internet changes.
Schaeffler Technologies AG & Co. KG
In Germany:
Phone 0180 5003872 Issued: 2013, January
Fax 0180 5003873
This publication or parts thereof may not
From other countries:
be reproduced without our permission.
Phone +49 9721 91-0
Fax +49 9721 91-3435 SSD 22 GB-D