Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering

First Advisor

Charles Cartin

Second Advisor

John Speich

Third Advisor

Parham Shahidi

Fourth Advisor

Brent Wilson


The connection between contact geometry and fatigue in tapered roller bearings utilized in the railroad environment is still of interest. Roller bearings for railroad applications are typically precision ground with crowned contact geometries to prevent edge loading of components. This normally results in completely elastic Hertzian contact stresses under standard railcar loads. However, under extreme load conditions, detrimental edge loading has been known to occur. It is proposed to develop a tool, using finite element analysis, that can be utilized to optimize complex raceway crown geometries for severe applications.

A successful implementation of this tool is presented and validated using proven Hertzian contact theory. Correlation within 5% of the ultimate surface and subsurface stress magnitudes, using finite element modeling, in contrast with proven contact theory is achieved. In addition, analyses of other load conditions and contact geometries in order to illustrate the practical application of the tool are exhibited.


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