Purdue University

Purdue University

Mechanical Engineering
Tribology Laboratory

RCF Machine

Three Ball-On-Rod Rolling Contact Fatigue Machine is used to bring rolling contact fatigue testing to a smaller scale.  It allows materials and lubricants to be tested for shorter amounts of time and at a lower cost than full scale tests.  The RCF machine is used to determine the life of rotating cylindrical test specimens (3/8” diameter rod) subjected to various material, lubricant, and load conditions.  The springs on the test head are used to transmit a load through the cups to the three 1/2” diameter balls onto the rod.  The rod rotates at 3600 rpm, and the test runs until a spall develops.  An accelerometer picks up the vibration and automatically shuts down the test.  The time elapsed during the test is recorded on an hour counter.  This machine is currently being used to examine the life of silicon nitride and M-50 steel under different lubricants.

 

Three Ball-on-Rod RCF Machine   Test Head Consisting of Three Load Springs, Plates with Angled Cups, and a Bronze Retainer that Holds 3 Balls.

Three Ball-on-Rod RCF Machine

  Test Head Consisting of Three Load Springs, Plates with Angled Cups, and a Bronze Retainer that Holds 3 Balls.
     
Loading Configuration of the Balls onto the Rod   A Typical Spall Generated on the Test Rod
Loading Configuration of the Balls onto the Rod   A Typical Spall Generated on the Test Rod


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