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The history of aircraft turbine engine bearings is one of great improvements in reliability and performance. Progress in steel has followed two parallel paths. One is in steel composition from low alloys to high speed, fracture tough, and corrosion resistant compositions. The other is in steel quality, from electric furnace to vacuum and remelting methods, and forging and inspection techniques to prevent stress raising flaws. In many ways the developments for turbine engines have led the way for the bearing industry. In this paper the history and future will be reviewed with emphasis on the important lessons we have learned that can be applied wherever rolling contact bearings are used.
turbine engine bearings, dimensional stability, vacuum melting, steel quality, bearing steels, high speed bearing steels, fracture toughness
Manager, The Torrington Company, Advanced Technology Center, Torrington, CT