Rolling contact fatigue (RCF) tests were conducted on rolling bearings with drilled holes at the mid-point of the raceway. Flaking limit was determined by the shear-mode threshold of a crack that emanated at the edge of drilled hole. To quantify the RCF strength according to fracture mechanics principles, Mode II stress intensity factor (SIF) range of the crack was derived. Taking a small crack effect on the shear-mode fatigue crack into account, RCF strength was successfully evaluated as a crack problem, irrespective of the diameters and depths of the hole. The values of the threshold SIF range obtained by RCF tests were in good agreement with those obtained in the torsional fatigue tests under static compression.
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