Electron microscopy analysis of structural changes within white etching areas

Annika Martina Diederichs, A. Schwedt, J. Mayer, T. Dreifert

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    In the present work, crack networks with white etching areas (WEAs) in cross-sections of bearings were investigated by a complementary use of SEM and TEM with the focus on the use of orientation contrast imaging and electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD). Orientation contrast imaging was used for the first time to give detailed insight into the microstructure of WEA. A significant difference between Nital-etched and polished WEA samples was observed. It was revealed that WEAs are composed of different areas with varying grain sizes. As a result of secondary transformation, needle-shaped grains were observed within WEAs. Using EBSD analysis, evidence was obtained that WEA formation and accompanying crack growth are without relation microstructural features. In addition, an inhomogeneous chemical structure of WEA as a result of carbide dissolution is revealed by analytical investigations.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalMaterials Science and Technology
    Issue number16
    Pages (from-to)1683-1693
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


    • White etching area (WEA)
    • White etching cracks (WECs)
    • Steel
    • Electron microscopy
    • Rolling contact fatigue


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