Investigating effects of non-uniform preload on the thermal characteristics of angular contact ball bearings through simulations

Wenwu Wu, Xiaohu Li, Feng Xu, Jun Hong, Yang Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Methods utilising rigid preloading and constant preloading in ball bearing systems may not be adequate to address the optimisation of problems in which preloading occurs. This is because of non-uniform loading on the bearings that is induced by manufacturing error, assembly error and external loads. A non-uniform preload is presented for the analysis of non-uniform bearing loading. A simulation method is developed to determine the effects on non-uniform loading on bearing thermal performance under different preloads. A three-degree-of-freedom model is built to simulate the heat generation rate of angular contact ball bearings under non-uniform preloads. In this model, the non-uniform preload is divided equally into two parts: a uniform preload and an equivalent moment. The bearing heat generation rate can then be employed in finite element analysis software to simulate the temperature field associated with the entire ball bearing. The simulation data shows that non-uniform preloading conditions on ball bearings can decrease heat generation. The results also show that non-uniform preloads can alleviate heating concentrations and reduce peak temperature values under working conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)667-681
Number of pages15
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part J: Journal of Engineering Tribology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work is supported in part by National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant no. 51105297) and National Science and Technology Major Project of China (Grant no. 2012ZX04010011).


  • Angular contact ball bearings
  • bearing preload
  • non-uniform preload
  • temperature field
  • thermal characteristics

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