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Acoustic measurement of lubricant-film thickness distribution in ball bearings

Zhang, J., Drinkwater, B.W. and Dwyer-Joyce, R.S. (2006) Acoustic measurement of lubricant-film thickness distribution in ball bearings. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 119 (2). pp. 863-871. ISSN 0001-4966

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An oil-film thickness monitoring system capable of providing an early warning of lubrication failure in rolling element bearings has been developed. The system is used to measure the lubricant-film thickness in a conventional deep groove ball bearing (shaft diameter 80 mm, ball diameter 12.7 mm). The measurement system comprises a 50 MHz broadband ultrasonic focused transducer mounted on the static outer raceway of the bearing. Typically the lubricant-films in rolling element bearings are between 0.1-1.0 μm in thickness and so are significantly smaller than the ultrasonic wavelength. A quasistatic spring model is used to calculate oil-film thickness from the measured reflection coefficient data. An accurate triggering system has been developed to enable multiple reflection coefficient measurements to be made as the contact ellipse sweeps over the measurement location. Experiments are described in which the loading conditions and rotational speed are varied. Lubricant-film thickness distributions measured ultrasonically are described and are shown to agree well with the predictions from classical elastohydrodynamic (EHD) lubrication theory, particularly at high radial loads and low rotary speeds. A range of parameters affecting the performance of the measurement are discussed and the limits of operation of the measurement technique defined. © 2006 Acoustical Society of America.

Item Type: Article
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: Copyright (c) 2006 Acoustical Society of America. This is an author produced version of a paper published in ' Journal- Acoustical Society of America '. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy.
Keywords: Acoustic measuring instruments Acoustic wave reflection Ball bearings Elastohydrodynamic lubrication Films Mathematical models Ultrasonic transducers Lubricant-film Multiple reflection coefficient measurements Rotary speeds Ultrasonic wavelength Lubricants lubricating agent accuracy acoustic impedance acoustics article film hydrodynamics mathematical model physical chemistry priority journal rotation ultrasound transducer
Institution: The University of Sheffield
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Engineering (Sheffield) > Department of Mechanical Engineering (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Mr Christopher Hardwick
Date Deposited: 18 Aug 2009 13:52
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2013 16:58
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.2146109
Status: Published
Publisher: Acoustical Society of America
Refereed: Yes
Identification Number: 10.1121/1.2146109
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/9169

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