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I'm currently researching a succession of bearing failures as part of a work-related project and I was told that the current theory is based around austenitization (austenitisation, for the UK?) of the bearing material. However, after some Googling and looking through a few of my engineering handbooks I haven't really found any evidence to back the theory.

Our alarm system warns us when the thermocouple located around 2 inches from the bearing's outer race reads above 100C (I've seen some on the alarm system reading 130+ before we've managed to stop the system). Obviously the bearing itself would be warmer than that, and having seen the discoloured and compacted grease I can believe they are getting too hot to retain their clearances, but from what I've read about austenitization the temperatures needed are 900C+, which is surely way too high? If this was occurring, somehow, is it true that the bearing never returns to its original dimensions once austenitized, and will eventually keep getting larger every time this occurs?

Has anyone got any experience of austenitization? An explanation in layman's terms would be very welcome. I have also made this thread in the materials/metallurgy section.

Many thanks in advance,

RE: Austenite/Austenitization...

Move the t/c closer to the bearing.

Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

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