Fatigue life of tapered roller bearings and other elements subject to cyclic contact stress reflects the fatigue strength of the selected material under given environmental conditions. The various modes of contact-fatigue failure have been classified according to their appearance and the factors which promote their initiation and propagation. Illustrations of the various failure modes include rig test specimens and bearings representing normal catalog-rated life under laboratory and application environments. Evidence is presented for the propagation of contact fatigue from surface and subsurface origins.

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