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Failure of Bearings.

Bearings are mechanical components which enable an axial rotational, spherical rotational, linear, and hinge motion of many applications in transportation, construction, and household equipment. Unexpected failure of bearings can be caused by various factors - faulty design, human factors/mishandling, or an external source. 

  • Bearings may have been designed to have improper fit, adjustment, and alignment.

  • Less interference or excessive interference fit with shaft can cause fretting corrosion, creep, scuffling in the inner ring surface.

  • Bearings fail by external source, such as impact or vibrational load, dirty or improper lubricant, mishandling, or moist/conductive environment.


  • Vibration or impact load will create the flaking, cracks, and chips of bearing.

  • Vibration damages the bearings by fretting corrosion, corrosion damage induced under repeated stress on contact surface.

  • Moist environments will create rust.

  • When a current is passed through the bearing, the electric pitting can occur.

BEAR engineers have been working with many clients who have an early failure of bearings, analyzing the cause of the failure and evaluating the damages.


One prominent example is Milwaukee’s Miller Baseball Stadium.  The stadium employs very large bearings to support its retracting roof. When the roof suddenly collapsed, our team was called in to evaluate the damages.

We found out that the failure of the retracting roof of the stadium was caused by improper placing of lubricant on the bearings. Instead of applying the lubricant on the contacting part with the roof of the bearing, the lubricant was put on non-contacting part of it.

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