With the increasing demand of higher operating speed for bearing system, more challenges have been exposed on the maintaining of the bearing performance. Preloading is an effective method to handle these challenges. Traditionally, the preloading of bearing system has been applied by uniform approaches such as rigid preload and constant preload. However, this treatment may hardly deal with the optimization of preloading problem due to the non-uniformity of the bearing stiffness becomes more apparent under high-speed operating conditions. A novel and practical approach is therefore presented in this paper to incorporate the non-uniformity effect to improve the structural performance of bearing under actual operating conditions. Firstly, the critical relationship between the stiffness behaviour and the non-uniform preload is evaluated for bearing system. The stiffness problem of angular contact ball bearing system is then formulated analytically by Jones’ model. With this approach, boundary conditions are achieved to solve the local contact deformation and predict the bearing life under non-uniform preload. Finally, both the uniform preload and the non-uniform preload cases for bearing system are simulated under various operating conditions. Comparing with traditional methods, the proposed method can provide a better solution in both stiffness and life that will enable a designer to obtain a deep insight on the optimization of bearing system.

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