Particle Image Velocimetry measurements inside a tapered roller bearing with an outer ring made of sapphire: Design and operation of an innovative test rig
Journal article, 2022

Experimental studies on rolling-element bearing lubrication represent an ambitious engineering challenge. In the present study, the design of a dedicated test rig to perform Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) measurements on the lubricant inside a tapered roller bearing is presented. Through the usage of a sapphire outer ring, it has been possible to optically access the inside of a bearing without compromising its kinematics. PIV measurements allowed the reconstruction of the lubricant velocity field in the cavity between the cage and the outer ring at different rotational speeds. Results show that as the speed of rotation increases, bubbles due to aeration phenomena tend to appear and modify the behavior of the lubricant considerably.

Tapered Roller Bearing


Test Rig



Lorenzo Maccioni

Free University of Bozen-Bolzano

Valery Chernoray

Chalmers, Mechanics and Maritime Sciences (M2), Fluid Dynamics

Christof Bohnert

Schaeffler Technologies

Franco Concli

Free University of Bozen-Bolzano

Tribology International

0301-679X (ISSN)

Vol. 165 107313

Subject Categories

Accelerator Physics and Instrumentation


Applied Mechanics

Areas of Advance



Chalmers Laboratory of Fluids and Thermal Sciences



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