The application of large-diameter bearing rings and the thereof inherited low stiffness make them susceptible to local distortions caused by their surrounding structures, which are often under heavy loads. The standard accepted design criteria for these bearings are based on the estimation of the internal load distribution of the bearing, under the assumption of rigid circular and flat supporting structures, that keep the bearing inner and outer races in circular, flat, i.e., not deformed shapes. However, in the presence of structural distortions, the element load distribution can be severely altered and cannot be predicted via the standard design criteria. Therefore, the application of large-diameter ball and roller bearing rings as the critical components in rotating machines becomes more of a design task than making a catalog selection. The analytical and finite element approach for fatigue life prediction of such a bearing-application is presented. The undertaken approach and the results are illustrated based on the analysis and fatigue life simulation of the CT (Computed Tomography) -scanner’s main rotor bearing. It has been demonstrated that flexibility of the rings can significantly reduce the fatigue life of the ball bearing.

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