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Anti-Peeling Rolling Bearing with Manganese Phosphate Coating




* Research & Development Center, Automotive Unitized Product Engineering Development Department
**Automotive Engineering Center, Automotive Bearing Engineering Department

Peeling occurs on smooth rolling bearing raceways in contact with rough mating surfaces under poor lubrication
conditions. A relatively inexpensive manganese phosphate treatment was selected for preventing the contact surface from
peeling. We have confirmed by rolling fatigue test results that the manganese phosphate coating can prevent raceways from
peeling, and that its effect is a result of roughness truncation and the increase of oil film formation.

1. Introduction
As a result of environmental concerns in recent years, there
has been a trend among automobile manufactures to reduce
the frequency of engine and transmission oil changes, and
switch to low-viscosity oils. As lubrication condition becomes
increasingly severe, various types of surface damage tend to
occur. This requires higher performance and high reliability of
metal surfaces, but an increase in costs is severely restrained.
Peeling is a type of surface initiated failure, and is usually a
concentration of fine flakings of no more than 0.1 mm wide
and 10 m deep1). Peeling occurs on a component having a
smooth surface when the mating component is rough and the
lubricating film between the two surfaces is insufficient.
Peeling is often seen, for example, on the surface in contact
with automobile engine roller follower bearing cams and
rollers of needle roller bearings.
This paper reports on a newly developed peeling-resistant
bearing that is effective in preventing surface damage under
severe lubrication conditions and has low cost.

2. Concept of Development
Oil film thickness parameter is commonly used as the
parameter for expressing the severity of lubrication conditions.
The value of is usually defined as the ratio of minimum oil
film thickness h0 and combined roughness of the two surfaces
that make contact with each other. The lower the value of ,
the shorter the rolling contact fatigue life becomes2), and the
origin of damage shifts from subsurface to surface. Seizure
and abnormal wear, which occur when the oil film is broken,
are most likely connected with the value of . Lubrication
conditions must be improved in order to prevent damage,
including peeling, from occurring on the surface. The value of
is increased by using lubricants with higher kinematic
viscosities or by reducing surface roughness, but this leads to
higher fuel consumption and cost.
Machine parts are generally subjected to running-in
operation under moderate conditions to improve contact
surfaces before actual use in the machine. Initial contact
micro-roughness is improved by running-in. According to
F.Hirano, although the surface quality of machine parts must
be improved, there is a limit to improving the precision of

KOYO Engineering Journal English Edition No.156E (2000)

machining and materials, but there is ample room for

improvement in the area of optimizing running-in operation
technology3). Effective application of running-in as a means of
preventing various types of surface damage must be
investigated further.
Because of its initial running-in and oil retention properties,
manganese phosphate coating is widely used for iron sliding
surfaces such as gears and cams. It used to be difficult to apply
manganese phosphate to rolling bearings requiring high
precision due to problems such as an increase in roughness
after treatment, coating unevenness, and coating falling off. In
recent years, however, these problems have been minimized
by improvements in technology for controlling the grain size
of manganese phosphate coating4), which is also relatively low
in cost because it is a wet process and mass quantities can be
produced at a time. In this paper we take a look at the runningin effectiveness of manganese phosphate coating and study its
suitability to rolling contact surfaces for the purpose of
preventing peeling and other surface damage.

3. Peeling-Resistant Surfaces
3. 1 Application of Manganese Phosphate Coating
To apply manganese phosphate coating to the contact
surface of rolling elements, the coating and surface of the base
materials must be optimized. In the case of manganese
phosphate coating, various coatings and surface of base
materials are possible by combining chemicals (surface
adjustment agent, phosphating solution) and processing
conditions. The authors prepared various coated surfaces,
evaluated them for peeling resistance under rolling contact
conditions, and developed a new surface treated with a special
manganese phosphate coating.
Fig. 1 shows the schematic diagram of the developed antipeeling surface. The surface is coated with manganese
phosphate. The coating thickness is 1~4 m. The grains are
small, so the roughness is less than that of conventional
manganese phosphate coatings. The iron of the surface base
metal is dissolved during the initial manganese phosphate
coating process, forming pits in the surface of the base metal.
These pits are arranged at a moderate size, depth and density.


Anti-Peeling Rolling Bearing with Manganese Phosphate Coating

Table 1 Test conditions


Maximum contact pressure, GPa

Rotational speed, min

Base metal


1 000

Running time, h


Oil film thickness parameter ()


Fig. 1 Schematic diagram of manganese phosphate coating

When actually applying manganese phosphate coating to

rolling bearings, we have taken into consideration dimensional
changes during the process of coating and clearance changes
produced by coating fall-off during operation.

Driven roller

3. 2 Anti-Peeling Performance
Anti-peeling properties for the newly developed surface
were evaluated with a two-ring type rolling fatigue tester for
20 hours. Test conditions are given in Table 1, and the
structure of the tester is shown in Fig. 2. The results are shown
in Figs. 3, 4 and 5.


Drive roller

Fig. 2 Test equipment


(a) Untreated

(b) Treated
Fig. 3 Appearance of surface after testing


(a) Surface appearance

(b) P analysis

(c) Mn analysis

Fig. 4 EPMA analysis of treated surface


KOYO Engineering Journal English Edition No.156E (2000)

Anti-Peeling Rolling Bearing with Manganese Phosphate Coating

Peeling damage (%, damaged area ratio)

Contact voltage, V

The load was applied by a coil spring. As a lubricant,

3 ml/min of no-additive turbine oil was dripped from the top
of the tester. The outer diameters of both the drive roller and
driven roller were 60 mm. The drive roller had an R30 crownradius and the driven roller was flat. Both rollers were made of
high-carbon chromium steel (JIS/SUJ2) and hardened by heat
treatment to 700~750 HV. The roughness of the drive roller
was increased by grinding, and the roughness of the driven
roller was reduced by lapping. Sample driven rollers with and
without manganese phosphate-treated anti-peeling surfaces
were tested.
Fig. 3 shows the appearance of the surface after testing.
Peeling accompanied by two surface cracks5) occurred in the
untreated surface. In the case of the coated surface, the coating
came off and some pits were observed in the surface of the
base metal, but they were of undefined shape, unlike fine
peeling. EPMA analysis of Mn and P confirmed that
manganese phosphate remained in the pits, as shown in Fig. 4,
and that the pits were not minute peeling.
Fig. 5 shows the peeling damage of the surface after the test
as observed using a laser microscope. There was no peeling on
the anti-peeling surface. The peeling damage of the untreated
surface ranged from 13.5% to 36%.




Running time, h

Fig. 6 Change of voltage by separation of two surfaces

4. 2 Change in Roughness of Drive Roller during

Testing Time
The authors turned their attention to the roughness of the
drive roller to investigate the reason why separation between
the two surfaces by oil film is large and peeling is suppressed.
With the two-ring type rolling fatigue tester, the authors
compared changes in initial operating period roughness of the
companion drive roller both when the driven roller had a
peeling-resistant surface and when it had an untreated surface.
Test conditions are shown in Table 2.
Table 2 Test Conditions


Maximum contact pressure, GPa


Rotational speed, min1

1 000

Drive roller initial roughness Rq, m


Oil film thickness parameter ()







Fig. 5 Peeling damage of treated and untreated surfaces

4. Peeling Suppression Effect

4. 1 Oil Film Formation in Peeling-Resistant Surface
Ceramic ball bearings were used for support bearings in the
previously described tester. Both roller shafts were electrically
separated in order to measure progressive change in contact
voltage between the two rollers over time. Contact voltage
measured during the test is given in Fig. 6. Separation voltage
was measured using the electrical resistance method, applying
0.1 volts of electricity. The figure shows perfect contact at
0 volts and perfect separation at 0.1 volts. Separation voltage
shifts almost to contact during the test in the case of the
untreated surface, whereas in the case of the peeling-resistant
surface, while making perfect contact during the initial
operation period, after 30 minutes the separation voltage rises
and shifts to the separation side. This indicates that the oil film
tends to be formed on the peeling-resistant surface more than
on the untreated surface, thus suppressing peeling.

KOYO Engineering Journal English Edition No.156E (2000)

Fig. 7 shows a typical example of roughness change for the

surface of companion drive roller. Where the driven roller was
untreated, roughness amplitude was observed to be less than
initial period roughness both three minutes and one hour after
starting the test. In the case of the treated surface, in addition
to a decrease in roughness amplitude, the asperity became
Concerning the roughness curve of the drive roller, the
radius of curvature R for the asperity was determined using
the McCool method6) (following equation).
Here, m4 represents the 4th spectral moment.
R = 0.375( m 4 )


Change in roughness Rq and the radius of asperity

curvature (hereinafter referred to as "radius of peaking") from
the start of running until one hour is shown in Fig. 8. This
shows that the roughness amplitude decreased earlier in the
case of the treated surface than in the case of the untreated
surface, and the radius of asperity increased. This is due to the
truncation accompanying the running-in. The test proved that
coating with manganese phosphate helps decrease of
roughness of the companion surface and smoothes asperities
to enhance response to running-in.


Anti-Peeling Rolling Bearing with Manganese Phosphate Coating


After 3 min.

After 60 min.



Test conditions are given in Table 3. Equipment used for

the test was the previously mentioned two-ring type rolling
fatigue tester. The drive rollers were prepared by running-in
operation. Drive rollers of the same degree of roughness (Rq)
were selected from among various radiuses of asperities and
tested. All driven rollers were lapped and were untreated. The
authors evaluated peeling damage by measuring peeling area.




Radius of asperity R, m

Drive roller roughness Rq, m

Fig. 7 Change of roughness on drive roller








Table 3 Test conditions

Maximum contact pressure, GPa
Rotational speed, min


1 000

Running time, h


Oil film thickness parameter ()







Running time, h


The results are given in Fig. 9. A correlation between

roughness radius of asperity of the drive roller and peeling
area was noted, with peeling damage decreasing as radius of
asperity increases.

Fig. 8 Change of roughness Rq and asperity curvature radius


4. 3 Affect of Roughness Radius of Asperity


Here E* is equivalent elastic modulus, H is metal hardness,

and is RMS roughness. Radius of asperity is thought to
affect bearing life and cause sharing8) of total pressure over the
asperities in mixed lubrication condition9).
The authors tested the effect of change in radius of asperity
due to running-in confirmed in the previous section on the
degree of peeling damage.


Peeling damage, %

The representative index for severity of asperity contact,

plastic index , has been defined by Greenwood7) et al. as in
the following equation. Plastic index is inversely
proportional to the square root of the roughness radius of
asperity R.


Radius of asperity, m

Fig. 9 Relationship between asperity curvature radius and

peeling damage

KOYO Engineering Journal English Edition No.156E (2000)

Anti-Peeling Rolling Bearing with Manganese Phosphate Coating

5. Application to Roller Bearings


Running time, h

This suggests that the manganese phosphate coating

suppresses peeling by running in the companion surface and
smoothing the asperities. It is surmised that the coating itself
relaxes asperity interference in the initial period of rotation
and contributes to the lubricating effect by maintaining an oil
film due to the manganese phosphate remaining in the pits
even after the coating drops off.



The authors applied the developed manganese phosphate

coating to engine cam roller follower bearings, which are
subject to peeling, and evaluated them.
The tester is shown schematically in Fig. 10, and the test
conditions are given in Table 4. Actual cams were used as the
companion parts. Needle roller type roller follower bearing
NAP0817 (outer diameter 17, width 9, basic dynamic load
rating 11.1 kN) was used as the specimen. Bearing load
produced by cam lift was adjusted by spring force to be the
same as that of an actual engine. SAE 10-W30 engine oil was
used for lubrication, and the oil temperature was regulated at
130; . We applied the coating to the outer ring of the
specimen bearings making contact with the cam and compared
them with untreated outer rings. The untreated outer rings
were super-finished.

Peeling-resistant bearing

Fig. 11 Test results

(a)Untreated part (b)Peeling-resistant bearing

Fig. 12 Appearance of specimen after running

Coil spring



bearings showed sufficient resistance to peeling. There was no

abnormal wear of the companion cam surface.
By measuring the surface profile of the glossy surface, the
authors confirmed that this was not caused by wear but was
rather the result of coating fall-off. Even though the coating
fall off, it was thin so there was no problem with precision.
Application of manganese phosphate coating to sliding parts
for engines been proven sufficiently through actual usage, so
fallen-off manganese phosphate will not negatively affect
other parts.

6. Conclusion
Fig. 10 Cam follower test equipment

The results are shown in Fig. 11. The appearance after

testing is shown in Fig. 12. Visual inspection revealed light
single-layer peeling in untreated outer rings after 50 hours of
running. The surface of the peeling-resistant bearing became
glossy after 200 hours of running, but no peeling was
observed. It was confirmed that the treated cam roller follower

1) The authors developed a peeling-resistant coating surface

with optimized surface of base metal by treating with
manganese phosphate coating.
2) The probable reasons the manganese phosphate coating
suppresses peeling are as follows:
(1) Manganese phosphate coating runs-in the companion
surface and increases surface separation of roller
contact surfaces.
(2) Radius of asperity affects degree of peeling damage and
is increased by running-in.
3) Peeling-resistant bearings with manganese phosphate
coating showed sufficient resistance to peeling in endurance
testing on a bench machine. Manganese phosphate coating
was observed to have no detrimental effect on actual parts.
Finally, the authors would like to express their appreciation
to Nihon Parkerizing Co., Ltd., for its cooperation in preparing
test samples, etc.

KOYO Engineering Journal English Edition No.156E (2000)


Table 4 Test conditions

Maximum contact pressure, GPa
Rotational speed, min

Lubricant amount, ml/min

3 000
SAE10-W30 engine oil

Oil temperature, ;


Running time, h


Anti-Peeling Rolling Bearing with Manganese Phosphate Coating



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KOYO Engineering Journal English Edition No.156E (2000)