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Research project: A study on White Etching Crack (WEC) root causes and its relation to material microstructures and surface treatments.

Currently Active: 

White Structure Flaking (WSF) is an extremely premature failure mode in wind turbine gearbox bearings that leads to significant impact on the wind turbine industry.

It is a metallic flaking with associated microstructural change that typically occurs in as little as 6-24 months from the start of wind turbine operation. This type of spalling is caused by the surface and/or subsurface initiation and propagation of White Etching Crack (WEC) and, perhaps, butterflies in association with microstructural change called White Etching Area (WEA). WEA is widely reported in various industrial applications, however its formation mechanism is still not completely understood. To the authors’ knowledge, WSF occurs in various bearing steel materials and surface treated steels, however the influence of surface and material on WEC formation has not been fully investigated. This PhD study aims to investigate the material and surface treatment influence on WEC formation.

Related research groups

national Centre for Advanced Tribology at Southampton (nCATS)
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