Despite the ongoing debates on influence of hydrogen uptake and penetration in the steel, pulsed and extraordinary fatigue on white etching cracks (WEC)formation in bearing steel SAE52100, the present paper proposes an alternative hypothesis on electrothermal initiation of the WEC. The hypothesis points to differences between electrical and thermal properties of elements of steel microstructure that lead sequentially to redistribution of current, resistivity heating, thermal expansion and deformations of the carbide particle. Appearance of a nano-void is also predicted by the model in the cases of the martensite and the bainite structures. The model also predicts higher probability of the WEC formation for the bainitic steel.
- White etching cracks
- Electric current