Types of Bearings
Bearings are a critical fastener used throughout the aerospace, defense, and other industries. They have a wide range of uses and therefore come in many types. The primary types of bearings are ball bearings, cylindrical roller bearings, tapered roller bearings, and needle bearings. Ball bearings are the most commonly used, but each type offers its own benefits and drawbacks. This blog will cover each of the four main types of bearings as well as their advantages and disadvantages.
A ball bearing is a type of rolling-element bearing that uses balls to maintain separation between moving parts. Compared to other similar bearings, ball bearings are the least expensive. They are commonly used in applications where load is relatively small, like in skateboards or power drills. The advantages of ball bearings are their low cost, compact size, and broad range of uses. Their disadvantage is that they only support moderate axial loads.
When it comes to cylindrical ball bearings, there are many different types on the market. They typically vary based on the number or rows of rollers and if there is a cage or not. The lack of a cage allows for the bearing to have more rows, which helps support heavier radial loads. Cylindrical ball bearings are frequently used in rotary applications where they can support even very significant radial loads. The main advantages of these bearings are their long service life, strength, and ability to support large radial loads. Their disadvantage is that, in bearings without cages, they cannot tolerate high speeds.
Tapered roller bearings are noted for their ability to support radial, axial, and combined loads. Thanks to the rigidity of tapered roller bearings, they can support heavy loads. There is a lot of overlap in the uses of tapered roller bearings and ball bearings, but it is important to know that, when the same size, tapered roller bearings can support heavier loads than ball bearings. They are used in vehicle transmissions, sterling columns for cars and trucks, machine spindles, and more. Their advantage is their versatility and ability to handle both radial or axial loads. Their main disadvantage is their inability to support high rotational speeds.
Similar to cylindrical roller bearings, needle bearings can come with or without a cage. Those with cages can tolerate very high speed, and those without cages can support significant radial or axial load. Bearings of this type are commonly found in applications such as gear pumps, aircraft construction equipment, gasoline engines, and other engine components. The advantages of needle bearings are their ability to support strong radial loads and their reduced overall dimension. The primary disadvantage is their sensitivity to misalignment.
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