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What is Bearing Brinelling?

All bearings have a typical service life. However, an OEM’s suggested service life is not always a guarantee. Bearing failure comes in many forms, such as corrosion, smearing and brinelling. The definition of brinelling is the permanent indentation of a hard surface. Bearing brinelling occurs when the internal raceways of a bearing have been permanently damaged. The indentations can quickly lead to improper operation, like chattering or excess vibration, which in turn can accelerate other forms of wear. Two common forms of wear are galling, the adhesion between sliding surfaces, and spalling, the flaking off of materials under rolling pressure. Brinelling causes wear in which, similar marks are pressed into the surface of a moving part, such as bearings or hydraulic pistons. It is usually undesirable as the parts often work with other parts close to each other.

Brinelling is named after the Brinell scale of hardness, in which a small ball is pushed against a hard surface at a preset level of force. The depth and diameter of the mark that is left indicates the brinell hardness of the surface.

Brinelling of bearings comes in two types, true brinelling and false brinelling.

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