The rolling friction, contact plastic deformation, and elastic limit were determined for SAE 52100 steel structures with retained austenite contents from zero to 18.4 per cent. The force necessary to roll a ball on a plate decreased as the retained austenite was decreased. The contact stress necessary for the initiation of plastic deformation and the elastic limit of the material increased as the retained austenite content decreased from 18.4 to 3.9 per cent. No further change occurred when the retained austenite was reduced to zero. The extent of plastic deformation at very high contact stresses was reduced by the presence of retained austenite contents up to at least 7.4 per cent. These observations were applied to the problem of selecting the best steel structure for an instrument ball bearing.

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