Grinding Burn Detection

Grinding thermal damages, also known as grinding burns, will shorten the fatigue life of critical, dynamically loaded components and can lead to severe failures. Grinding burns occur when the energy from grinding produces too much heat. Grinding burn decreases hardness and causes tensile residual stress.

grinding burn illustration

The grinding process has many parameters that affect grinding quality. Grinding burns may occur if any of following parameters are not optimal:

  • Force
  • Cutting speed
  • Cutting fluid
  • Wheel wear
  • Wheel dressing

Why grinding burn detection is important

The surface of a freshly ground component may appear to be fine, but unseen damages below the surface, when undetected, can lead to serious problems for the end user.

Grinding burns will:

  • shorten the fatigue life
  • cause severe failures in dynamically loaded, critical components
  • change stress and microstructure

Undetected grinding burn may cause:

  • Internal quality failure on production line
    • extra costs: rework, scrap
  • External quality failure
    • warranty cases
    • brand value loss

Grinding burn detection methods

Grinding burn can be detected non-destructively with following methods:

  • Barkhausen noise analysis (BNA) which detects hardness changes and residual stress caused by grinding burns
  • X-ray diffraction method (XRD) which measures residual stresses caused by grinding burns
  • Nital etching (NE) where over heated area will appear darker when part is etched
Barkhausen noise analysis and X-ray diffraction are significantly better methods for detecting grinding burns than nital etching, as can be seen from the following table for method comparison:
Evaluation through coatings××
Can easily examine large areas×
Influenced by both stress and microstructure×
Can be automated×
Environmentally friendly×

Stresstech offers both Barkhausen noise analysis and X-ray diffraction equipment and measurement service for various applications.

RoboScan hypoid measurement

Barkhausen noise analysis

Barkhausen noise analysis is a non-destructive method involving the measurement of a noise-like signal induced in a ferromagnetic material by an applied magnetic field. There are two main material characteristics that directly affect the intensity of the Barkhausen noise signal: hardness and stress. The Barkhausen noise method reacts to even the smallest burns as burned areas increase the signal.

With the Barkhausen noise method, it is possible to measure through coatings which makes it an indispensable method for detecting grinding burns on critical components, like landing gears.

Xstress G3 measuring a crankshaft

X-ray diffraction

Grinding burn causes residual stress. The Non-destructive X-ray diffraction method allows measuring the absolute residual stress value.

X-rays have high energy and short wavelength when compared to visible light making them ideal for probing the interplanar distances in crystalline materials.

nital etch

Nital Etching

Nital etch inspection to detect signs of grinding burn involves a chemical mixture of nitric acid and ethanol which will corrode the gear sample and reveal microstructure variations in steel. The overheated area will appear darker than the surrounding area after the test.

RoboScan S

Stresstech provides turnkey solutions for grinding burn detection

With Stresstech products, grinding burn detection can be performed effortlessly in production lines, laboratories, and even in the field.

Questions about grinding burn detection?

We can help! Our engineers have years of experience helping customers find the right solutions for their needs.