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During the past few years, a relatively new and unique turbine system bearing failure has been encountered in both marine and land-based turbine installations. The severity of the resultant damage usually required an extensive overhaul of the whole bearing assembly. From the appearance of bearing damage, these failures have been called “machining,” “black-scab,” or “wire-wool” failures. Because of the known consequences of this type of failure on large machinery units, a research program was initiated. The objective of the program was to determine the nature, mechanisms, and causes of these failures and to recommend remedial measures to eliminate them. This paper summarizes the results obtained from a bench-scale apparatus in which the characteristics of service failure can be simulated and reproduced consistently. Also discussed are the mechanisms of failure. On the basis of these mechanisms, various methods of protecting the bearing contact surfaces were considered and evaluated. Changes in the specifications for turbine oil and materials were submitted as findings justified them.
bearing failure, chromium steels, turbine oil additives, mechanisms of wear, abrasive wear, adhesion, surface coatings, lubrication
Karpe, S. A.
Research chemical engineer, U. S. Navy Marine Engineering Laboratory, Annapolis, Md.