Ball and rolling element bearings are perhaps the most widely used components in industrial machinery. They are used to support load and allow relative motion inherent in the mechanism to take place. Subsurface originated spalling has been recognized as one of the main modes of failure for rolling contact fatigue (RCF) of bearings. In the past few decades a significant number of investigators have attempted to determine the physical mechanisms involved in rolling contact fatigue of bearings and proposed models to predict their fatigue lives. In this paper, some of the most widely used RCF models are reviewed and discussed, and their limitations are addressed. The paper also presents the modeling approaches recently proposed by the authors to develop life models and better understanding of the RCF.

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