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International Journal of Scientific Research Engineering & Technology (IJSRET), ISSN 2278 0882

Volume 4, Issue 10, October 2015

Review of Vibration Based Fault Diagnosis in Rolling Element Bearing and

Vibration Analysis Techniques
Ragini Sidar1, Prakash Kumar Sen2 , Gopal Sahu3
Student, Mechanical Engineering, Kirodimal Institute of Technology, Raigarh (C.G.)
Lecturer, Mechanical Engineering, Kirodimal Institute of Technology, Raigarh (C.G.)

Rolling element bearings are one of the major
machinery components used in industries like power
plants, chemical plants and automotive industries that
require precise and efficient performance. Vibration
monitoring and analysis is useful tool in the field of
predictive maintenance. Health of rolling element
bearings can be easily identified using vibration
monitoring because vibration signature reveals
important information about the fault development
within them. Numbers of vibration analysis techniques
are being used to diagnosis of rolling element bearings
faults. This paper attempts to summarize the recent
research and developments in rolling bearing vibration
analysis techniques. Bearing defects and bearing
characteristic frequencies (BCF) are also discussed.
KeywordsRolling Element Bearing, Vibration,
Bearing Fault, Vibration Analysis, Fault Diagnosis.

Rolling element bearings are at the heart of
almost every rotating machine. Therefore, they have
received a lot of attention in the field of vibration
analysis as they represent a common source of faults
(1). In order to keep machinery operating at its best
and avoid catastrophic failure, financial cost and
personal injuries, different methods bearing fault
diagnosis have been developed and used effectively to
detect the machine faults at an early stages, among
which vibration signal processing is the most
frequently applied one .(2) Vibration based condition
monitoring have been widely used for detection and
diagnosis of bearing defects for several decades .(3)
Bearing failures can sometimes cause both personal
damage and economic loss, if the fault cannot be
detected and diagnosed well in advance. Proper
functioning of these appliances depends, to a great
extent, on the smooth and quiet running of the bearings
[3]. Material fatigue, faulty, installation, or
inappropriate lubrication may cause localized defects

of rolling bearings. Each time the rolling element

passes over the defect, an impulse of vibration is
generated [4]. Different methods are used for detection
and diagnosis of bearing defects; they may be broadly
classified as vibration and acoustic measurements,
temperature measurements and wear debris analysis.
Among these, vibration measurements are the most
widely used. Several techniques have been applied to
measure the vibration and acoustic responses from
defective bearings; i.e., vibration measurements in
time and frequency domains, the shock pulse method,
sound pressure and sound intensity techniques and the
acoustic emission method [3]. Well performance and
reliability of rolling element bearings is essential for
proper functioning of machines and to prevent
catastrophic failure of the machinery. Bearing health
and performance can be easily identified by using
health monitoring techniques. Many condition
monitoring techniques is available to monitor the
health of bearing; these are wear debris analysis, motor
current analysis, noise monitoring, temperature
monitoring, vibration monitoring etc. But the vibration
monitoring is the most useful technique because it is
reliable and very sensitive to fault severity. Bearings
act as a source of vibration and noise because of either
varying compliance or the defects presence in parts of
bearing. These vibration signals will give us
information about the health of bearing. Vibration
monitoring is the most popular technique to diagnosis
of rolling element bearing faults. Many researchers
have been worked on vibration signal analysis
techniques and numbers of research papers have been
published by them. Review papers have also been
published by researchers on bearing defects diagnosis
techniques. In 1983, Kim and Lowe [5] the aim of this
study is to include the recent research and
developments in the vibration analysis techniques for
diagnosis of rolling element bearings faults.


International Journal of Scientific Research Engineering & Technology (IJSRET), ISSN 2278 0882
Volume 4, Issue 10, October 2015



Bearing geometry is a critical factor for

diagnosing bearing defects because the geometry of
ball bearings determines the dynamics of the bearing
components and their vibration characteristics. Figure
2.1 shows a typical deep groove ball bearing and
figure 2.2 shows components, applied force, load zone
and load distribution. Ball bearings have smaller sizes
and limited load carrying capacity compared to the
other rolling element bearings, but they can support
both axial and radial loads. Axial force is defined as
the force applied parallel to the shaft whereas the
radial force is applied perpendicular to the shaft.
Correct alignment, placement where it is used, enough
lubrication are the important points to take care of to
maximize the life-span of this equipment [6]. A ball
bearing consists of an inner race, an outer race, balls, a
cage holding the balls apart from each other and a
shaft. The load zone and load distribution are also
given with the direction of applied force in the figure.
In most cases, the outer race is held stationary where
the inner race and the balls rotate. Most of the defects
on the inner side of outer race such as cracks or pits
occur on the locations subject to the load zone, since
they are directly under the applied force.

Rolling element bearing consists of an inner

race, an outer race, rolling elements and a cage, which
holds the rolling elements in a given relative position,
as presented in Fig.1. In order to find the
characteristics of the vibration responses due to faults,
the bearing rings are assumed to be isolated continuous
systems. It is further assumed that: (1) All rollers are
equal in diameter; (2) There is in pure rolling contact
between rollers, inner race and outer race; (3) There is
no slipping between the shaft and the bearing; (4)
Outer race is stationary and inner race rotates. The
relative velocity between rollers, inner race and outer
race are zero because they are in pure rolling contact.

Figure 2.1: Typical deep-groove ball bearing [6]

Race surface fatigue results in the appearance of spalls

on the inner race, outer race or rolling elements. If one
of the races has a spall, it will almost periodically
impact with rolling elements. The fault signature is
represented by successive impulses with a repetition
rate depending on the faulty component, geometric
dimensions and the rotational speed. The period
between impacts is different for all the listed elements
and depends on the geometry of the bearing, the
rotational speed and the load angle. For a fixed outer
race bearing, the theoretical characteristic fault
frequencies can be calculated using Eq. (1)-(4), and a
derivation of these equations is presented in (7).
1 Fundamental cage frequency

fc = 2 (1 cos )..(1)
2 Outer race defect frequency
f0 =
Figure 2.2: Ball bearing components, applied force,
load zone and load distribution [6].

1 cos (2)

3 Inner race defect frequency


International Journal of Scientific Research Engineering & Technology (IJSRET), ISSN 2278 0882
Volume 4, Issue 10, October 2015

fi =

(1 +

cos )(3)

4 Roller defect frequency

fr =


(1 2 2 )..(4)

where, Dc is pitch circle diameter, Dr is roller

diameter, is contact angle, Nr is number of roller
and Fs is shaft rotational frequency.

B. Localized Defects
These defects include cracks, pits and spalls
on rolling surfaces caused by fatigue [11]. The
common failure mechanism is the crack of the races or
rolling elements, mainly caused when a crack due to
fatigue originated below the metal surface and
propagated towards the surface until a metal piece is
detached causing a small defect or spall [3]. This
defect accelerate when the bearing is overloaded or
subjected to shock (impact) loads during their
functioning and also increase with the rotational speed.
Spalling can occur on the inner ring, outer ring, or
rolling elements.

The defects in the rolling element bearings
may arise mainly due to following reasons such as;
improper design of the bearing or improper
manufacturing or mounting, misalignment of bearing
races, unequal diameter of rolling elements, improper
lubrication, overloading, fatigue, uneven wear etc. The
rolling element bearing defects/faults classified into
two categories; distributed defects and localized
A. Distributed Defects
Distributed defects are mainly caused by
manufacturing error, inadequate installation or
mounting and abrasive wear [8]. Distributed defects
include surface roughness, waviness, misaligned races
and unequal diameter of rolling elements [9]. The
change in contact force between roiling elements and
raceways due to distributed defects cause an increased
in the vibration level. Hence, the study of vibrations
generated by distributed defects is mainly for quality
inspection of bearings as well as for condition
monitoring [10].

Fig.4.1 Defective Bearing with 1mm defect on outer



The normal service life of a rolling element
bearing rotating under load is determined by material
fatigue and wear at the running surfaces. Premature
bearing failures can be caused by a large number of
factors, the most common of which are fatigue, wear,
plastic deformation, corrosion, brineiling, poor
lubrication, faulty installation and incorrect design.
Common modes of bearing failure are discussed below
A. Fatigue
Fatigue damage begins with the formation of
minute cracks below the bearing surface. As loading
continues, the cracks progress to the surface where
they cause material to break loose in the contact areas.
The actual failure can manifest itself as pitting,
spalling or flaking of the bearing races or rolling
elements. If the bearing continues in service, the
damage will spread in the locality of the defect is due
to stress concentration [12].
B. Wear
Wear is another common cause of bearing
failure. It is caused mainly by dirt and foreign particles
entering the bearing through inadequate sealing or due
to contaminated lubricant. The abrasive foreign
particles roughen the contacting surfaces giving a dull
appearance. Severe wear changes the raceway profile
and alters the rolling element profile and diameter,
increasing the bearing clearance. The rolling friction
increases considerably and can lead to high levels of
slip and skidding, the end result of which is complete
breakdown [12].


International Journal of Scientific Research Engineering & Technology (IJSRET), ISSN 2278 0882
Volume 4, Issue 10, October 2015

C. Plastic deformation
Plastic deformation of bearing contacting
surfaces can be the result of a bearing subject to
excessive loading while stationary or undergoing small
movements. The result is indentation of the raceway as
the excessive loading causes localized plastic
deformation. In operation, the deformed bearing would
rotate very unevenly producing excessive vibration
and would not be fit for further service [12].
D. Corrosion
Corrosion damage occurs when water, acids or
other contaminants in the oil enter the bearing
arrangement. This can be caused by damaged seals,
acidic lubricants or condensation which occurs when
bearings are suddenly cooled from a higher operating
temperature in very humid air. The result is rust on the
running surfaces which produces uneven and noisy
operation as the rust particles interfere with the
lubrication and smooth rolling action of the rolling
elements [12].
E. Brinelling
Brinelling manifests itself as regularly spaced
indentations distributed over the entire raceway
circumference, corresponding approximately in shape
to the Hertzian contact area. Three possible causes of
brinelling are,
(1) Static overloading which leads to plastic
deformation of the raceways,
(2) When a stationary rolling bearing is subject to
vibration and shock loads and
(3) When a bearing forms the loop for the passage of
electric current [12].
F. Lubrication
Inadequate lubrication is one of the common
causes of premature bearing failure as it leads to
skidding, slip, increased friction, heat generation and
sticking. At the highly stressed region of Hertzian
contact, when there is insufficient lubricant, the
contacting surfaces will weld together, only to be torn
apart as the rolling element moves on. The three
critical points of bearing lubrication occur at the cageroller interface, the roller-race interface and the cage
race interface [12].
G. Faulty installation
Faulty installation can include such effects as
excessive preloading in either radial or axial

directions, misalignment, loose fits or damage due to

excessive force used in mounting the bearing
components [12].
H. Incorrect design
Incorrect design can involve poor choice of
bearing type or size for the required operation, or
inadequate support by the mating parts. Incorrect
bearing selection can result in any number of problems
depending on whether it includes low load carrying
capability or low speed rating. The end result will be
reduced fatigue life and premature failure [12].


There is several vibration analysis techniques
used to analyses the bearing vibration. In this paper,
vibration analysis techniques are classified in four
categories: time domain, frequency domain, timefrequency domain and other techniques.
A. Time Domain Techniques
Time domain technique is easiest and simplest
technique to analyze the vibration signal waveform.
Peak-to-peak amplitude is measure from the top of the
positive peak to the bottom of the negative peak. Root
mean square (RMS), measures the overall level of a
discrete signal.
RMS (X) =


Where, N is the number of discrete points and

represents the signal from each sampled point. The
resultant RMS values are compared with
recommended values to determine the condition of a
bearing [13]; however, this method is not sensitive to
detect small or early-stage defects [14].
B. Frequency Domain Techniques
Frequency domain, or spectral analysis, is the
most popular approach for the diagnosis of bearing
faults. Frequency-domain techniques convert timedomain vibration signals into discrete frequency
components using a fast Fourier transform (FFT).
Simply stated, FFT mathematically converts timedomain vibration signals trace into a series of discrete
frequency components. The Fast Fourier Transform
(FFT) is an algorithm for calculation of the Desecrate
Fourier Transform first published in 1965 by
J.W.Cooley and J.W.Tuckey [15].In a frequency


International Journal of Scientific Research Engineering & Technology (IJSRET), ISSN 2278 0882
Volume 4, Issue 10, October 2015

spectrum plot, the X-axis is frequency and the Y-axis is

the amplitude of displacement, velocity, or
acceleration. The main advantage of frequency-domain
analysis over time-domain analysis is that it has ability
to easily detect the certain frequency components of
interest. James Taylor.
C. Time-Frequency Domain Techniques
Time-frequency domain techniques have
capability to handle both, stationary and nonstationary vibration signals. This is the main advantage
over frequency domain techniques. Timefrequency
analysis can show the signal frequency components,
reveals their time variant features. A number of timefrequency analysis methods, such as the Short-Time
Fourier Transform (STFT), Wigner-Ville Distribution
(WVD), and Wavelet Transform (WT), have been
introduced. STFT method is used to diagnosis of
rolling element bearing faults [17]. The basic idea of
the STFT is to divide the initial signal into segments
with short-time window and then apply the Fourier
transform to each time segment to ascertain the
frequencies that existed in that segment. The
advantage of wavelet transform (WT) over the STFT is
that it can achieve high frequency resolutions with
sharper time resolutions. An enhanced Kurtogram
method used to diagnosis of rolling element bearing
faults by Wang et al. [18].
D. Other Techniques
Many other techniques have been used to
diagnosis of rolling element bearing faults e.g.
artificial neural networks (ANNs), fuzzy logic systems
etc. Baillie and Mathew [19] proposed the application
of ANNs to diagnosis of rolling element bearing faults.
The main advantage of this time domain based model
that can detect faults using short data length. Liu etal.
[20] have developed a fuzzy expert system for rolling
element bearing fault diagnosis. Jack et al. [21] used
radial basis function (RBF) networks for diagnosis of
rolling element bearing faults but this network is fail to
classify outer race and cage defects. Feed forward
neural network (FFNN) structure is the mostly used
neural network structure in the diagnosis of machine
faults [22].


domain and frequency domain are key points for doing

work. So, we will use time domain and frequency
domain for feature extraction and fault diagnosis in our
work.[23] This study found that the time domain
techniques only can indicate the fault(s) present in the
bearing but it cant identify the location. Frequency
domain techniques have ability to identify the location
of fault(s) in bearing. Vibration peaks generates in
spectrum at the bearing characteristics frequencies,
from that we can easily understand which bearing
element is defected. Envelope analysis is very useful
method to detect incipient failure of rolling element

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International Journal of Scientific Research Engineering & Technology (IJSRET), ISSN 2278 0882
Volume 4, Issue 10, October 2015

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