Mitigation of False Brinelling in a Roller Bearing: A Case Study of Four Types of Greases

Chih Ling Lin, Khosro Fallahnezhad, Osama Brinji, Paul A. Meehan

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5 Citations (Scopus)
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Four commercial greases with various thickeners and base oils were experimentally examined to compare their false brinelling wear resistance in a test rig simulating roller bearings during rail/sea transportation for the first time. Greases containing zinc dialkyl dithiophosphates (ZDDP) showed superior false brinelling reduction, evidenced by no visible wear mark in the raceways. The mechanism for false brinelling mitigation was shown to be from a ZDDP-induced tribofilm which decreases the friction and wear coefficient in the contact area. Surface chemical analysis showed that for grease lubricated fretting contacts, ZDDP-derived tribofilms can be generated in the presence of micro-sliding motions and energy dissipation at the contact interface at low frequency (i.e., 4–8 Hz), due to the mechanochemical reactions. For greases without ZDDP, false brinelling wear was reduced by 97% when using grease with a more abundant and less viscous oil, which bleeds readily from an open structured thickener. The results highlight the ability of ZDDP as an additive in grease to better protect roller bearings against false brinelling during rail/sea transportation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number22
Number of pages18
JournalTribology Letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022


  • False brinelling
  • Grease lubricant
  • Roller bearing damage
  • ZDDP


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