A proposed criteria to identify wind turbine drivetrain bearing loads that induce roller slip based white-Etching cracks

Jonathan Keller, Anand Natarajan, W. Remigius, Yi Guo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus Citations


In this article, the type of roller slip behavior that may result in the formation of white-etching cracks (WECs) in wind turbine gearbox bearings is identified. A new hypothesis based on the inner raceway normal contact load magnitude at the time of roller slip is proposed as the probable cause of WECs. For this purpose, the maximum normal contact loads are identified when roller slip occurs in high-speed shaft bearings at different mean wind speeds. Subsequently, the annual probability of occurrence of the maximum normal loads are obtained. The probability of maximum load under slip exceeding a limit probability is hypothesized as a probable cause for WEC. In order to apply the proposed hypothesis, two different wind turbines high-speed shaft bearings are used: the cylindrical roller bearing of the General Electric 1.5 SLE turbine and the tapered roller bearing of Vestas V52 turbine. Both the chosen bearings are on the generator side of the high-speed shaft. For both turbines, measurement data together with analytical models are used for identifying the slip and the maximum normal contact loads. We propose forecasting the probability of exceedance of a threshold maximum normal contact load level during slip to identify the possibility for inducing WECs.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)395-404
Number of pages10
JournalForschung im Ingenieurwesen/Engineering Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, Springer-Verlag GmbH Deutschland, ein Teil von Springer Nature.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5000-78946


  • bearing roller slip
  • contact load
  • normal operation
  • white-etching crack


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