In the railroad industry, monitoring the condition of key components such as bearings and wheels is vital to ensure the safe transport of goods and commodities. Bearing seizures are amongst the most dangerous types of failures experienced by trains because they occur unexpectedly and may lead to costly derailments. Current bearing health monitoring techniques include tracking the temperature and acoustic emissions given by the bearings. Although temperature histories of railroad tapered roller bearings are readily available, the literature does not provide information relating the temperature profiles to the severity of the bearing defect. The study presented here investigates the correlation between temperature profiles and bearing defect severity measured by the size of spalls present on bearing outer (cup) and inner (cone) rings. The temperature data used for this study was acquired from defective and healthy bearings that were run at various operating load and speed conditions. The data presented here provides the railroad industry with a greater understanding of the thermal behavior of defective bearings, which can be used to assess the future needs of bearing condition monitoring systems.

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