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Materials for bearing rings and

rolling elements
Bearing steels for through-hardening
The most common steel for through-hardening is a carbon chromium steel
containing approximately 1% carbon and 1,5% chromium according to ISO 68317:1999. Today, carbon-chromium steel is one of the oldest and most intensively
investigated steels; due to the continuously increasing demands for extended
bearing service life. The composition of this rolling bearing steel provides an
optimum balance between manufacturing and application performance. This steel is
normally given a martensitic or bainitic heat treatment during which it is hardened to
the range of 58 to 65 HRC.
Within the last few years process developments have enabled more stringent
cleanliness specifications to be realized, which has had a significant impact on the
consistency and quality of SKF's bearing steel. The reduction of oxygen and harmful
non-metallic inclusions has led to significantly improved properties of rolling bearing
steels - the steels from which the SKF Explorer class bearings are made.

Bearing steels for induction-hardening


Surface induction-hardening offers the possibility to selectively harden a
component's raceway, while leaving the remainder of the component unaffected by
the hardening process. The steel grade and the manufacturing processes used prior
to surface induction-hardening dictate the properties in the unaffected area, which
means that a combination of properties can be achieved in one component.
An example of this is a flanged wheel hub bearing unit (HBU) where the properties of
the unhardened flange are designed to resist structural fatigue, while the raceway is
designed to resist rolling contact fatigue.

Bearing steels for case-hardening


Chromium-nickel and manganese-chromium alloyed steels according to ISO 68317:1999 with a carbon content of approximately 0,15% are those steels for casehardening most commonly used for SKF rolling bearings.
In applications where there are high tensile interference fits and heavy shock loads,
bearings with case-hardened rings and/or rolling elements are recommended.

Stainless bearing steels


The most common stainless steels used for SKF bearing rings and rolling elements
are the high chromium content steels X65Cr14 according to ISO 683-17:1999 and
X105CrMo17 according to EN 10088-1:1995.
It should be noted that for some applications, corrosion resistant coatings might be
an excellent alternative to stainless steel. For additional information about alternative
coatings, please consult the SKF application engineering service.

High-temperature bearing steels


Depending on the bearing type, standard bearings made from steels for throughhardening and surface-hardening have a recommended maximum operating
temperature, which differs between 120 and 200 C. The maximum operating
temperature is directly related to the heat treatment process used in manufacturing
components.
For operating temperatures up to 250 C; a special heat treatment (stabilization) can
be applied. In this case a reduction of the load carrying capacity of the bearing has to
be taken into account.
For bearings operated at elevated temperatures, higher than 250 C, for extended
periods, highly alloyed steels like the 80MoCrV42-16 manufactured to ISO 68317:1999 should be used, because they retain their hardness and bearing
performance characteristics even under extreme temperature conditions.
For additional information about high temperature bearing steels, please contact the
SKF application engineering service.

Ceramics
The common ceramic used for SKF bearing rings and rolling elements is a bearing
grade silicon nitride material. It consists of fine elongated grains of beta-silicon nitride
in a glassy phase matrix. It provides a combination of favourable properties for rolling
bearings, such as high hardness, low density, low thermal expansion, high electric
resistivity, low dielectric constant and no response to magnetic fields