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Wear failure analysis of ball bearings based on lubricating oil for gas turbine

Jiasi Sun (Shenyang Engine Research Institute, Shenyang, China)
Jiali Bu (Shenyang Engine Research Institute, Shenyang, China)
Jinglai Yang (Shenyang Engine Research Institute, Shenyang, China)
Yanlong Hao (Shenyang Engine Research Institute, Shenyang, China)
Hong Lang (Shenyang Engine Research Institute, Shenyang, China)

Industrial Lubrication and Tribology

ISSN: 0036-8792

Article publication date: 28 September 2022

Issue publication date: 2 January 2023




Ball bearings in gas turbine have played a critical role in supporting heavy radial loads but with higher failure rates and repair costs. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to introduce and study a method for their failure analysis with an actual industrial example to guarantee operation reliability and safety.


Spectrometric oil analysis was used as an early abnormal wear indicator, based on which emergent in-use oil replacement was carried out to reduce the wear rate. However, with wear deterioration, further wear failure investigation was conducted by LaserNet Fines and ferrography to detect the imminent wear failure. Finally, with the assistance of elemental analysis of the typical wear particles, the root cause and worn components were determined by scanning electronic microscope and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy.


The results have shown that an extraneous source led to wear failure, which later caused overheat between the outer bearing ring and ball. It is in accordance with visual inspection of the disassembled engine.


This method has specified the occasion under which the suitable measurement can be taken. It can achieve the rapid wear condition assessment allowing for root cause and worn parts identification. In addition, wear rate reduction by change of oil can be efficient for most of the time to avoid premature disassemble, especially with the possibility of contamination. It has provided experience to address similar industry-level practical wear failure analysis problems.



Author contribution: Jiasi Sun and Jiali Bu contributed equally to this work.


Sun, J., Bu, J., Yang, J., Hao, Y. and Lang, H. (2023), "Wear failure analysis of ball bearings based on lubricating oil for gas turbine", Industrial Lubrication and Tribology, Vol. 75 No. 1, pp. 36-41.



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