What Are Bearings?

Bearings are omnipresent components that handle rolling motions. Designed to reduce friction and transfer loads and motions, bearings are a crucial part of all kinds of machinery.

In a sleeve or plain bearing, the axle and bearing move in opposite directions on a sliding surface. In contrast, the two components in a rolling bearing that move towards each other (the inner and outer rings) are separated by rolling elements. This design generates significantly less friction than a bearing, which increases reliability and extends the lifetime of the parts used.

Bearings can transmit loads in a radial direction or an axial direction (thrust) and in many cases, there is a combination of both radial and axial loads to transfer. Rolling-element bearings consist of these components:

  • A set of two rings, inner and outer, with raceways
  • A set of rolling elements, either balls or rollers
  • A cage to keep rolling elements separated and helps guide motion

The inner and outer rings of a rolling-element bearing are typically made from high-purity chrome-alloy steel. This material is hard enough for high load ratings and a long service life. Raceways are hardened, ground, and honed into their surfaces for the rollers. Some rings will be made from ceramics or plastics: while they cannot withstand high temperatures, they are lightweight, which is useful for sectors like the aviation and automobile industries, where weight is a serious concern.

Rolling elements take the form of balls, rollers, cones, or needles, They are usually made from steel as well, but like rings, can be made from ceramic, plastic, or other metals as well. The rolling elements roll on the raceways of the rings and are separated and guided by the cage. The cage itself is typically made from steel, brass, or plastic. Solid-metal cages are made with machining techniques, while pressed metal cages from folded sheet metal. Plastic cages can be machined from solid plastic, or injection molded.

Ball bearings are the most commonly used type of rolling-element bearing, due to how easy it is to manufacture and maintain them, and the fact that they are less sensitive to operating conditions than other bearings. They can absorb both radial and axial forces in both directions, and their low torque makes them suitable for high speed operations.

At Veritable Aviation, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you find all the bearings for the aerospace, civil aviation, and defense industries. We’re always available and ready to help you find all the parts and equipment you need, 24/7-365. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at sales@veritableaviation.com.


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