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Bearing (mechanical)

Design Life
The design life of a bearing depends on rated load and the equivalent radial load. Deep Groove: L10 = (C/P)n The rated load, C, is the load at which 10% of bearings fail after one million revolutions. The manufacturer will provide this number. One million revolutions may sound like a lot, but it's not. A car engine typically has one million revolutions on it after only eight hours. The equivalent load, P, is a combination of axial load and radial load, times some factor to account for shock loading, acceptable noise levels, lubrication quality, cleanliness, speed, temperature, etc. Calculating it can be a pain. The exponent, n, is 3 for radial bearings, and 3.33 for thrust bearings. This large an exponent means that doubling the load on a bearing will decrease its life by a factor of eight or ten, depending on the type of bearing. Don't overload your bearings! The formula for calculating equivalent load is P = (XFr + YFa) s where Fr is actual radial load, Fa is actual axial load, X is the static radial factor, and Y is the static axial factor, and s is the service factor, which varies from 1 on up. If Fa is zero (no axial load) you can ignore all this folderol, and P = Fr. Likewise, if Fr is zero (no radial load), then P = Fa. Calculating X and Y is so complicated that I avoid it when I can - by using separate thrust and radial bearings, by assuming X is 1 and Y is 3 (values which far exceed anything realistic), or by using software. SKF has an online bearing calculator here. If you really want to try calculating X and Y, start here.

GENERAL QUESTIONS

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Where is the nearest distributor or field sales person? Contact customer service at 1-800-323-2358 and they can put you in touch with the area sales representative or local distributor. Or, search for an NTN Authorized Distributor here [LINK TO: 3.0 DISTRIBUTOR SEARCH]. Does NTN have field engineering support? How do I schedule a visit? NTN does provide engineering field support to our customers. Contact your local NTN sales representative to arrange a visit. Load ratings seem to vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, is there a single method that can be used to compare like styles of bearings? Load ratings don't really vary from among manufacturers, the methods used to calculate load ratings is different. Some manufacturers use the ABMA standard, some use the US Industry standard, some use equivalent dynamic load calculations. In general if the internal design is the same the load ratings will be equivalent. What factors should be considered when choosing a bearing? All application data (loads, speeds, orientation, etc.), intended use, and environment. Where are specific bearing types manufactured, plant-by-plant? NTN has manufacturing plants in Asia, the Americas, and Europe that each produce a wide variety of product types. Contact NTN engineering for specific bearing inquires. Does NTN have any OEM programs similar to Timken? Contact the NTN Sales department. Are BCA parts/drawings going to be available? NTN is continuing to support the BCA product line. Individual prints can be requested through NTN engineering. What does the term "electric motor quality" mean? The term "electric motor quality" is freely used in describing bearings that meet a perceived "higher" level of quality than the standard ABEC-1 bearing. Contact NTN marketing for an Electric Motor Quality brochure. back to top

PART NUMBERS AND DESIGNATIONS

What is the 4T- prefix used for? The 4T- prefix designates a tapered roller bearing that is made of a special grade of case-hardened bearing steel and is interchangeable with other manufacturers taper with the same part number. What is the difference between LLB & LLU seals? The "LB" seal is a non-contact seal for reduced torque or higher speed requirements. The "LU" seal is contact seal for better grease contamination control, but the contact friction increases torque and lowers the limiting speed. What is the nomenclature for Precision Bearings (P4, P5, Tolerances)? NTN follows the ISO precision tolerance classes of P0, P6, P5, P4 and P2, which are equivalent to ABMA classes ABEC 1, ABEC 3, ABEC 5, ABEC 7 and ABEC 9, respectively. What is the difference between T & D1 or what is the designation for an oil hole? D1 always denotes a relube feature (any bearing). T is old nomenclature for inch dimensioned bearing units housings with a relube feature. What is the designation for a bronze cage on cylindrical roller bearings? Usually a G1 suffix is used to indicate a bronze or brass cage in a cylindrical roller bearing. In rare applications an L1 type cage has been used as well. What is the designation for a tapered bore on spherical roller bearings? A tapered bore on any NTN bearing (except tapered roller bearings) is a K (1 to 12 ratio) or K30 (1 to 30 ratio) suffix. What does CE or C0 fit mean? NTN does not use "CE" or "C0". These are competitor terms for electric motor and normal internal clearances. Clearance does not indicate any type of fit. What does V1 mean at the end of the deep groove ball bearing nomenclature? For NTN "V1" stands for the first special variation on this basic part number. This suffix lettering does not indicate any specific features. A print will have to be reviewed to see the exact special features. What does U3A mean at the end of the deep groove ball bearing nomenclature? In a part number like 6313ZZC3/2AU3A the "U3A" can be a packaging code or specific customer identification code. This does not affect the bearing features. What does LD1NR mean? LD1NR is the current suffix used on cylindrical outer ring bearing unit inserts. The "L" indicates it meets the new Japanese Industrial Specifications. The "D1" indicates it has a relube feature. The "NR" means it has a snap ring groove and snap ring on the outer diameter. This new suffix (LD1NR) will replace the older suffix D1NR on all future stock orders on this type of bearing.

TAPERED ROLLER BEARINGS

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Are your tapers the same as Timken? Are they interchangeable with Timken? All NTN-Bower tapered roller bearings, as well as NTN tapered roller bearings with the prefix 4T- or ET-, are Timken interchangeable. Are tapered bearings case-carburized? All NTN-Bower tapered roller bearings and NTN tapered roller bearings with the prefixes 4T-, ET-, or E- are case-carburized. ISO-class tapered roller bearings with a "U" suffix and NTN tapered roller bearings not having a previously mentioned prefix will be through-hardened, although these tend to be larger sizes (8 outer diameter and larger). Does NTN make tapered roller assemblies? Both NTN and NTN-Bower make 2- and 4-row assemblies, some of which can be found in the NTNBower catalog and the NTN Large Bearing catalog (2250/E). Does NTN make extra precision tapered roller bearings? NTN does make some select sizes of tapered roller bearings in high precision classes (i.e. ABMA classes -3, -0, -00 etc.). Please contact NTN engineering for more details. What is the recommended end-play for tapered roller bearings? Endplay is application specific, or preset in the case of NA-type assemblies. The machine manufacturers recommendations should be followed. For new designs please contact NTN engineering. back to top

SPHERICAL ROLLER BEARINGS

What is the difference between B-type spherical roller bearings and Etype? The B-type spherical roller bearing has asymmetric rollers guided by an inner ring center rib for better skewing control. E-type spherical roller bearing employs larger symmetric rollers for increased load capacity, fast becoming the industry standard. With the recent acquisition of SNR, NTN can provide more E-type spherical roller bearings than ever. Does NTN make sealed spherical roller bearings? NTN makes a limited series of sealed spherical roller bearings, the WA22200 series, the MX-

W22200, and various special part numbers. Please contact NTN engineering for more details.

ANGULAR CONTACT BALL BEARINGS


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Does NTN make angular contact bearings? NTN makes a full line of standard and high-speed angular contact bearings. What is the designation for sets (pairs) on your angular contact bearings? Paired arrangements for angular contact bearings are designated as D2 (universal flush ground pair), DB (matched back-to-back pair), DF (matched face-to-face pair) and DT (matched tandem pair). Does NTN make angular contact bearings with steel cages? NTN makes a selection of cage options, including steel for our angular contact bearings. What is back-to-back and face-to-face in angular contact bearings? Back-to-back (DB) or face-to-face (DF) are duplex arrangements of angular contact bearings (can also refer to taper bearings). Radial loads and axial loads in either direction can be accommodated by these arrangements. DB arrangements have a large spread between the bearing centers and should be selected when a rigid shaft is required for the application. DF arrangements have a very short spread between centers and should be applied when slight shaft misalignment is needed. The DB arrangement requires the inner rings to be clamped whereas the DF arrangement requires the outer rings to be clamped. What is the difference between angular contact bearings and deep groove ball bearings? Deep groove ball bearings are a non-separable type bearing with the line connecting contact points of the inner ring, steel ball, and outer ring of 0 in the radial direction. They are designed to take mainly radial loads but can handle some axial load in either direction. Angular contact bearings are also a non-separable type. The line connecting contact points of the inner ring, steel ball, and outer ring creates an angle with the line drawn in the radial direction called the contact angle. Angular contact bearings can accommodate relatively heavy axial loads in one direction in addition to radial loads. The larger the contact angle, the larger the axial loading capacity becomes.

CLEARANCE AND PRELOAD

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Does internal clearance affect the bearing precision (C3 vs. P3)? C3 is an internal clearance, or the amount of internal free space between the rolling elements and the raceways of a bearing. P3 does not exist. P6 is an ISO tolerance class equivalent to ABEC-3, or the accuracy the bearing is manufactured to. Clearance does not affect tolerance and tolerance does not affect clearance. Explain the difference between C3 and normal clearance? Clearance classes are established by ABMA. C3 is a clearance specification one class larger than "C Normal" (sometimes referred to as "C0" in deep groove radial ball bearings). Is there a chart that shows radial clearance ranges in both metric & inches? NTN does not generally publish clearance tables with inch dimensions. What is preload? Preload is an initial load or "negative clearance" given to a bearing before or during operation. This results in the rolling element and raceway surfaces being under constant elastic compressive forces at their contact points. This has the effect of making the bearing extremely rigid so that even when load is applied to the bearing, radial or axial shaft displacement is minimized. Is it safe to use a C3 fit in place of a standard fit? C3 is not a fit, it is an internal clearance. Fit is how tight or loose the shaft and housing hold the bearing in place. In most electric motor rebuild applications a C3 clearance can be used in place of a normal clearance. Contact NTN engineering for other applications. What is the difference between ABEC-3 and C3? Does the fit get better going up to C4 or down to C2? ABEC-3 is an ABMA tolerance class. C3 is an internal clearance specification. Fit is the relationship between the bearing bore and outside diameters to the housing bore and shaft outside diameter. Tolerance, clearance, and fit are independent dimensions, although in some cases choosing a larger internal clearance can allow you to use a tighter interference fit. Please contact NTN engineering for details. back to top

GREASE

What are NTNs standard greases? 2AS (Shell Alvania 2S), 5K (Kyodo Yushi Multemp SRL) and 3AS (Shell Alvania 3S) are considered NTN standard greases. L627 (Mobil Polyrex EM) is the current standard grease for most aftermarket inventory. 5K is the standard for micro-size bearings. 3AS is the standard in bearing units. What is good high temperature grease? NTN has close to 700 greases listed. To pick one for a specific application requires more application information. Which grease is best suited for most general bearings? The current NTN standard grease for unknown aftermarket applications is L627 (Mobil Polyrex EM). In most cases a quality general-purpose lithium- or polyureathickened grease will work. How much grease is too much? For general applications a grease fill of 30% of the free space in the bearing is accepted as standard by most manufacturers. Slow speed applications in harsh environments (such as agricultural machinery) can sometimes require a larger fill. High speed applications (i.e. hand tools) can require a lesser fill. Check with NTN engineering for any special requirements. What grease can be used when performing maintenance on mounted units? Standard bearing unit inserts are pre-lubed with a lithium soap grease (Shell Alvania 3S). Relubrication should be a grease with the same soap/thickener (lithium). What does each grease code identify? The grease code on a bearing number identifies the manufacturer, brand, and fill quantity

About Steel Ball Bearings


Inner Ring, Outer Ring, and Ball Bearing Materials
Stainless Steel ball bearings are machined components that include outer ring, inner ring, ball bearings, shielded bearings, snap rings, and more. Stainless Steel ball bearings are used when there is a need for high efficiency, low torque, long bearing life, and a low noise level. Using stainless steel as the material for ball bearings delivers all these advantages. Stainless Steel ball bearings are also used when applications require bearings to provide superior hardness and anti-corrosion or heatresistance. NMB has a wide variety of ball bearings, so you can be sure youll find the exact ball bearing you need with us. Search for ball bearings by metric and inch sizes,

flanged or unflanged bearing options, and by open or shielded bearings. Ring and Ball materials are subjected to severe stress reversals of approximately 1000 MPa. For applications with so many high pressure compressive stress reversals endured for such prolonged periods, an extremely pure and hard material is required. Therefore, careful selection of the raw material is necessary for bearings. NMB mainly uses high performance carbon chromium steel; or when good corrosion resistance is required, martensitic stainless steel. Our high carbon chromium steel is supplied to the specification JIS G4805/SUJ2, AISI/SAE52100 or equivalent, which is hardened, providing long life and high load capacity for our bearings. "DD400" martensitic stainless steel is a proprietary product of NMB which provides good hardness, long life and good load capacity for steel ball bearings when compared with other equivalents such as SUS440C. NMB Stainless Steel has better carbide distribution than other equivalents and therefore gives improved noise characteristics similar to high carbon chromium steel. NMB Stainless Steel provides the same corrosion resistance results when tested with SUS440C in accordance with test procedure ASTM-A380.

Ball Bearing Material Composition


High Carbon Chromium Bearings
Chemical Component (wt%) C Si Mn P S Cr Mo 0.50 0.025 0.025 1.30~1.60 JIS G 4805 SUJ 2 0.95~1.10 0.15~0.35 MAX MAX MAX 0.025 0.025 1.30~1.60 AISI/SAE E52100 0.98~1.10 0.15~0.35 0.25~0.45 MAX MAX Spec Symbol

Stainless steel
Chemical Component (wt%) C Si Mn P S Cr Mo 1.00 1.00 0.03 0.02 0.30 11.50~13.50 DD400 0.60~0.75 MAX MAX MAX MAX MAX 1.00 1.00 0.04 0.03 16.00~18.00 * JISG4303 SUS440C 0.95~1.2 MAX MAX MAX MAX Back to top Spec Symbol

General Notes About Bearing Life


Put simply, bearing life means how long you can expect your ball bearing to last under standard operating conditions. There will be a number of factors involved in the life of your bearing, including the amount of bearing load the ball bearing will be expected to handle. It's important to know the bearing life of your ball bearings so that you can plan down the road as to when you will have to replacing your bearing. Bearing life is calculated in number of revolutions, so you will need to establish how much time a revolution takes and what percentage of time your application has the ball bearing in continuous revolution in order to determine your bearing life. The bearing life statistic is a measure of the amount of time in revolutions where 90% of the ball bearings can be expected to have survived. This does not mean every bearing will fail as soon as this number has been exceeded, of course. The median life for ball bearings, also referred to as the Mean Time Before Failure, or MTMF, is about five times the basic life number for the bearing. This means that at 5 times the Basic Life Rating revolutions you should expect about half of your ball bearings to have failed. It's important to remember that there may be some variation in your individual results with a ball bearing, and factors such as proper lubrication, care and handling of the bearing, and stress on the bearing can result in very significant fluctuations in the life of the ball bearing. NMB Ball Bearings are used in a wide variety of applications. Many contain several application and environmental variables, all of which have an influence on bearing performance and life. Therefore it is extremely important to select the correct Bearing for each application in order to obtain the best possible results. These values are calculated according to JIS Specs as follows:

Basic Life Rating


The Basic Life Rating (L10) is defined in specification JIS B1518 "Dynamic load ratings and rating life for rolling bearings" as follows: The Basic Life Rating is the life obtained with 90% reliability, when an individual bearing or an identical group of bearings are manufactured with common materials, common manufacturing processes and quality, and operate under the same conventional conditions. L10 Life is the accumulated rotation where 90% of survive without material flaking when they are operated under fixed conditions, of a population of bearings. The calculation formula for the Basic Life Rating is the following. : Basic Life Rating in millions of revolutions : Basic Dynamic Load Rating : Equivalent Dynamic Radial Load Factor There is a relationship between the Basic Life Rating (revolutions) and Basic Life (time). : Rotation Speed (min-1)

: Time (hours)

General Notes About Bearing Load


There are two types of bearing load to consider with a ball bearing: radial load, which represents loads perpendicular to the shaft, and axial, or thrust, load, which represents loads parallel to the shaft. A ball bearing can handle both of these kinds of loads, but different loads affect bearings in different ways, so multiple bearing rating calculations are required. The load bearing calculations are outlined by the JIS, the Japanese Industrial Standards system, which provides standards for not only the ball bearing but also for a wide variety of industrial activities requiring accurate measures. JIS measurements are widely accepted standards throughout the world. You will find all ball bearing standards under JIS B, as B is the classification regarding mechanical engineering, which is the classification the bearing falls under (other classifications include A for civil engineering and C for electrical engineering). Use the load ratings to determine how many of each type of ball bearing you will need and which type of bearing will be appropriate to your needs, so that you can enjoy long, effective life for your bearing-using applications. Bearing information regarding various load ratings follows below:

Basic Dynamic Load Rating (Cr)


The method for calculating the Basic Dynamic Load Rating can be found in JIS B1518 and is based on an endurance test of 1,000,000 revolutions.

Dynamic Equivalent Radial Load Factor (Pr)


The Dynamic Equivalent Radial Load Factor is defined as "the direction and magnitude to the bearing, which is able to obtain the same life under the actual load and rotation conditions". From the calculation formula and the table below, the axial and the radial loads are replaced by the Dynamic Equivalent Radial Load Factor (Pr).

Pr = XFr + YFa X and Y are taken from the table below Fr = Radial load (N or kgf) Fa = Axial load (N or kgf)
Axial Load Ratio Units N 0.172 0.345 0.689 {kgf} { 0.0175 } { 0.0352 } { 0.0703 } X Y X Y 2.30 1.99 1.71 1.55 1.45 0.19 0.22 0.26 0.28 0.30 e

0.56

1.03 { 0.105 } 1.31 0.34 1.38 { 0.143 } 1.15 0.38 2.07 { 0.211 } 1.04 0.42 3.45 { 0.352 } 1.00 0.44 5.17 { 0.527 } 6.89 { 0.703 } i : No. of rows Z : No. of balls Dw : Ball Diameter (mm) The values for X andY that are not in the above table shall be calculated by linear interpolation.

Basic Static Load Rating (Cor)


The formula for the Basic Static Load Rating and the Static Equivalent Radial Load Rating of ball bearings is defined in specification JIS B1519 as follows: Basic Static Load Rating (Cor) : The Basic Static Load Rating is the amount of static radial load that will cause a total permanent deformation (ball and raceway) on the most heavily stressed ball/raceway contact area (the center) that equals to 0.0001 of the ball diameter under a stress level of 4200 MPa. Static Equivalent Radial Load (Por) : The Static Equivalent Radial Load is a static radial load that would cause the same total permanent deformation on the most heavily stressed ball/raceway contact as the actual load. The largest value obtained from the following two formulas will be used.

P0r = X0Fr + Y0Fa P0r = Fr X0 and Y0 are defined in specification JIS B1519 Table 2 (the coefficient values of X0 and Y0 of radial ball bearing) X0=0.6; Y0=0.5 Fr= Radial Load (N or kgf) Fa= Axial Load (N or kgf)
If you have any further questions regarding ball bearing loads or ball bearing life and are not able to find your answer on the NMB site, please feel free to contact NMB Tech at any time in order to get more specific information. Our highly qualified expert ball bearing engineers will be happy to answer any questions you may have promptly and completely.

Ball bearing A bearing is a machine element that constrains relative motion between moving parts to only the desired motion. The design of the bearing may, for example, provide for free linear movement of the moving part or for free rotation around a fixed axis; or, it may prevent a motion by controlling the vectors of normal forces that bear on the moving parts. Many bearings also facilitate the desired motion as much as possible, such as by minimizing friction. Bearings are classified broadly according to the type of operation, the motions allowed, or to the directions of the loads (forces) applied to the parts. The term "bearing" is derived from the verb "to bear";[1] a bearing being a machine element that allows one part to bear (i.e., to support) another. The simplest bearings are bearing surfaces, cut or formed into a part, with varying degrees of control over the form, size, roughness and location of the surface. Other bearings are separate devices installed into a machine or machine part. The most sophisticated bearings for the most demanding applications are very precise devices; their manufacture requires some of the highest standards of current technology.

Contents

1 History 2 Common 3 Principles of operation 4 Motions 5 Friction 6 Loads 7 Speeds 8 Play 9 Stiffness 10 Service life o 10.1 L10 life o 10.2 External factors 11 Maintenance and lubrication o 11.1 Packing o 11.2 Ring oiler

11.3 Splash lubrication o 11.4 Pressure lubrication 12 Types 13 See also 14 References 15 External links
o

History

Tapered roller bearing Drawing of Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) Study of a ball bearing The invention of the rolling bearing, in the form of wooden rollers supporting, or bearing, an object being moved is of great antiquity, and may predate the invention of the wheel. Though it is often claimed that the Egyptians used roller bearings in the form of tree trunks under sleds,[2] this is modern speculation.[3] They are depicted in their own drawings in the tomb of Djehutihotep [4] as moving massive stone blocks on sledges with the runners lubricated with a liquid which would constitute a plain bearing. There are also Egyptian drawings of bearings used with hand drills.[5] The earliest recovered example of a rolling element bearing is a wooden ball bearing supporting a rotating table from the remains of the Roman Nemi ships in Lake Nemi, Italy. The wrecks were dated to 40 AD.[6][7] Leonardo da Vinci incorporated drawings of ball bearings in his design for a helicopter around the year 1500. This is the first recorded use of bearings in an aerospace design. However, Agostino Ramelli is the first to have published sketches of roller and thrust bearings.[2] An issue with ball and roller bearings is that the balls or rollers rub against each other causing additional friction which can be prevented by enclosing the balls or rollers in a cage. The captured, or caged, ball bearing was originally described by Galileo in the 17th century.[citation needed] The

mounting of bearings into a set was not accomplished for many years after that. The first patent for a ball race was by Philip Vaughan of Carmarthen in 1794. Bearings saw use for holding wheel and axles. The bearings used there were plain bearings that were used to greatly reduce friction over that of dragging an object by making the friction act over a shorter distance as the wheel turned. The first plain and rolling-element bearings were wood closely followed by bronze. Over their history bearings have been made of many materials including ceramic, sapphire, glass, steel, bronze, other metals and plastic (e.g., nylon, polyoxymethylene, polytetrafluoroethylene, and UHMWPE) which are all used today. Watch makers produce "jeweled" watches using sapphire plain bearings to reduce friction thus allowing more precise time keeping. Even basic materials can have good durability. As examples, wooden bearings can still be seen today in old clocks or in water mills where the water provides cooling and lubrication. The first practical caged-roller bearing was invented in the mid-1740s by horologist John Harrison for his H3 marine timekeeper. This uses the bearing for a very limited oscillating motion but Harrison also used a similar bearing in a truly rotary application in a contemporaneous regulator clock.

Early Timken tapered roller bearing with notched rollers A patent on ball bearings, reportedly the first, was awarded to Jules Suriray, a Parisian bicycle mechanic, on 3 August 1869. The bearings were then fitted to the

winning bicycle ridden by James Moore in the world's first bicycle road race, Paris-Rouen, in November 1869.[8] In 1883, Friedrich Fischer, founder of FAG, developed an approach for milling and grinding balls of equal size and exact roundness by means of a suitable production machine and formed the foundation for creation of an independent bearing industry. The modern, self-aligning design of ball bearing is attributed to Sven Wingquist of the SKF ball-bearing manufacturer in 1907, when he was awarded Swedish patent No. 25406 on its design. Henry Timken, a 19th-century visionary and innovator in carriage manufacturing, patented the tapered roller bearing in 1898. The following year he formed a company to produce his innovation. Over a century the company grew to make bearings of all types, including specialty steel and an array of related products and services. Erich Franke invented and patented the wire race bearing in 1934. His focus was on a bearing design with a cross section as small as possible and which could be integrated into the enclosing design. After World War II he founded together with Gerhard Heydrich the company Franke & Heydrich KG (today Franke GmbH) to push the development and production of wire race bearings. Richard Stribecks extensive research [9][10] on ball bearing steels identified the metallurgy of the commonly used 100Cr6 (AISI 52100) [11] showing coefficient of friction as a function of pressure. Designed in 1968 and later patented in 1972, Bishop-Wisecarver's co-founder Bud Wisecarver created vee groove bearing guide wheels, a type of linear motion bearing consisting of both an external and internal 90-degree vee angle.[12][better source needed] In the early 1980s, Pacific Bearing's founder, Robert Schroeder, invented the first bi-material plain bearing which was size interchangeable with linear ball bearings. This bearing had a metal shell (aluminum, steel or stainless steel) and a layer of Teflon-based material connected by a thin adhesive layer.[13] Today ball and roller bearings are used in many applications which include a rotating component. Examples include ultra high speed bearings in dental drills,

aerospace bearings in the Mars Rover, gearbox and wheel bearings on automobiles, flexure bearings in optical alignment systems and bicycle wheel hubs.

Common
By far, the most common bearing is the plain bearing, a bearing which uses surfaces in rubbing contact, often with a lubricant such as oil or graphite. A plain bearing may or may not be a discrete device. It may be nothing more than the bearing surface of a hole with a shaft passing through it, or of a planar surface that bears another (in these cases, not a discrete device); or it may be a layer of bearing metal either fused to the substrate (semi-discrete) or in the form of a separable sleeve (discrete). With suitable lubrication, plain bearings often give entirely acceptable accuracy, life, and friction at minimal cost. Therefore, they are very widely used. However, there are many applications where a more suitable bearing can improve efficiency, accuracy, service intervals, reliability, speed of operation, size, weight, and costs of purchasing and operating machinery. Thus, there are many types of bearings, with varying shape, material, lubrication, principle of operation, and so on.

Principles of operation

Animation of ball bearing (An ideal picture without cage) Note that the red dots meet every 1.5 revolutions There are at least 6 common principles of operation:

plain bearing, also known by the specific styles: bushing, journal bearing, sleeve bearing, rifle bearing rolling-element bearing such as ball bearings and roller bearings jewel bearing, in which the load is carried by rolling the axle slightly offcenter fluid bearing, in which the load is carried by a gas or liquid magnetic bearing, in which the load is carried by a magnetic field flexure bearing, in which the motion is supported by a load element which bends.

Motions
Common motions permitted by bearings are:

axial rotation e.g. shaft rotation linear motion e.g. drawer spherical rotation e.g. ball and socket joint hinge motion e.g. door, elbow, knee

Friction
Reducing friction in bearings is often important for efficiency, to reduce wear and to facilitate extended use at high speeds and to avoid overheating and premature failure of the bearing. Essentially, a bearing can reduce friction by virtue of its shape, by its material, or by introducing and containing a fluid between surfaces or by separating the surfaces with an electromagnetic field.

By shape, gains advantage usually by using spheres or rollers, or by forming flexure bearings. By material, exploits the nature of the bearing material used. (An example would be using plastics that have low surface friction.) By fluid, exploits the low viscosity of a layer of fluid, such as a lubricant or as a pressurized medium to keep the two solid parts from touching, or by reducing the normal force between them. By fields, exploits electromagnetic fields, such as magnetic fields, to keep solid parts from touching.

Combinations of these can even be employed within the same bearing. An example of this is where the cage is made of plastic, and it separates the rollers/balls, which reduce friction by their shape and finish.

Loads
Bearings vary greatly over the size and directions of forces that they can support. Forces can be predominately radial, axial (thrust bearings) or bending moments perpendicular to the main axis.

Speeds
Different bearing types have different operating speed limits. Speed is typically specified as maximum relative surface speeds, often specified ft/s or m/s. Rotational bearings typically describe performance in terms of the product DN where D is the diameter (often in mm) of the bearing and N is the rotation rate in revolutions per minute. Generally there is considerable speed range overlap between bearing types. Plain bearings typically handle only lower speeds, rolling element bearings are faster, followed by fluid bearings and finally magnetic bearings which are limited ultimately by centripetal force overcoming material strength.

Play
Some applications apply bearing loads from varying directions and accept only limited play or "slop" as the applied load changes. One source of motion is gaps or "play" in the bearing. For example, a 10 mm shaft in a 12 mm hole has 2 mm play. Allowable play varies greatly depending on the use. As example, a wheelbarrow wheel supports radial and axial loads. Axial loads may be hundreds of newtons force left or right, and it is typically acceptable for the wheel to wobble by as much as 10 mm under the varying load. In contrast, a lathe may position a cutting tool to 0.02 mm using a ball lead screw held by rotating bearings. The bearings support axial loads of thousands of newtons in either direction, and must hold the ball lead screw to 0.002 mm across that range of loads.

Stiffness
A second source of motion is elasticity in the bearing itself. For example, the balls in a ball bearing are like stiff rubber, and under load deform from round to a

slightly flattened shape. The race is also elastic and develops a slight dent where the ball presses on it. The stiffness of a bearing is how the distance between the parts which are separated by the bearing varies with applied load. With rolling element bearings this is due to the strain of the ball and race. With fluid bearings it is due to how the pressure of the fluid varies with the gap (when correctly loaded, fluid bearings are typically stiffer than rolling element bearings).

Service life
Fluid and magnetic bearings Main articles: Fluid bearing and Magnetic bearing Fluid and magnetic bearings can have practically indefinite service lives. In practice, there are fluid bearings supporting high loads in hydroelectric plants that have been in nearly continuous service since about 1900 and which show no signs of wear. Rolling element bearings Rolling element bearing life is determined by load, temperature, maintenance, lubrication, material defects, contamination, handling, installation and other factors. These factors can all have a significant effect on bearing life. For example, the service life of bearings in one application was extended dramatically by changing how the bearings were stored before installation and use, as vibrations during storage caused lubricant failure even when the only load on the bearing was its own weight;[14] the resulting damage is often false brinelling. Bearing life is statistical: several samples of a given bearing will often exhibit a bell curve of service life, with a few samples showing significantly better or worse life. Bearing life varies because microscopic structure and contamination vary greatly even where macroscopically they seem identical. Plain bearings For plain bearings some materials give much longer life than others. Some of the John Harrison clocks still operate after hundreds of years because of the lignum vitae wood employed in their construction, whereas his metal clocks are seldom run due to potential wear.

Flexure bearings Flexure bearings rely on elastic properties of material.Flexure bearings bend a piece of material repeatedly. Some materials fail after repeated bending, even at low loads, but careful material selection and bearing design can make flexure bearing life indefinite. Short-life bearings Although long bearing life is often desirable, it is sometimes not necessary. Harris describes a bearing for a rocket motor oxygen pump that gave several hours life, far in excess of the several tens of minutes life needed.[14] L10 life Bearings are often specified to give an "L10" life (outside the USA, it may be referred to as "B10" life.) This is the life at which ten percent of the bearings in that application can be expected to have failed due to classical fatigue failure (and not any other mode of failure like lubrication starvation, wrong mounting etc.), or, alternatively, the life at which ninety percent will still be operating.The L10 life of the bearing is theoretical life and may not represent service life of the bearing. Bearings are also rated using C0 (static loading) value. This is the basic load rating as a reference, and not an actual load value. External factors The service life of the bearing is affected by many parameters that are not controlled by the bearing manufactures. For example, bearing mounting, temperature, exposure to external environment, lubricant cleanliness and electrical currents through bearings etc.

Maintenance and lubrication


Many bearings require periodic maintenance to prevent premature failure, but many others require little maintenance. The latter include various kinds of fluid and magnetic bearings, as well as rolling-element bearings that are described with terms including sealed bearing and sealed for life. These contain seals to keep the dirt out and the grease in. They work successfully in many applications, providing maintenance-free operation. Some applications cannot use them effectively.

Nonsealed bearings often have a grease fitting, for periodic lubrication with a grease gun, or an oil cup for periodic filling with oil. Before the 1970s, sealed bearings were not encountered on most machinery, and oiling and greasing were a more common activity than they are today. For example, automotive chassis used to require "lube jobs" nearly as often as engine oil changes, but today's car chassis are mostly sealed for life. From the late 1700s through mid 1900s, industry relied on many workers called oilers to lubricate machinery frequently with oil cans. Factory machines today usually have lube systems, in which a central pump serves periodic charges of oil or grease from a reservoir through lube lines to the various lube points in the machine's bearing surfaces, bearing journals, pillow blocks, and so on. The timing and number of such lube cycles is controlled by the machine's computerized control, such as PLC or CNC, as well as by manual override functions when occasionally needed. This automated process is how all modern CNC machine tools and many other modern factory machines are lubricated. Similar lube systems are also used on nonautomated machines, in which case there is a hand pump that a machine operator is supposed to pump once daily (for machines in constant use) or once weekly. These are called one-shot systems from their chief selling point: one pull on one handle to lube the whole machine, instead of a dozen pumps of an alemite gun or oil can in a dozen different positions around the machine. The oiling system inside a modern automotive or truck engine is similar in concept to the lube systems mentioned above, except that oil is pumped continuously. Much of this oil flows through passages drilled or cast into the engine block and cylinder heads, escaping through ports directly onto bearings, and squirting elsewhere to provide an oil bath. The oil pump simply pumps constantly, and any excess pumped oil continuously escapes through a relief valve back into the sump. Many bearings in high-cycle industrial operations need periodic lubrication and cleaning, and many require occasional adjustment, such as pre-load adjustment, to minimise the effects of wear. Bearing life is often much better when the bearing is kept clean and well lubricated. However, many applications make good maintenance difficult. For example, bearings in the conveyor of a rock crusher are exposed continually to hard abrasive particles. Cleaning is of little use, because cleaning is expensive yet the bearing is contaminated again as soon as the conveyor resumes operation. Thus, a good maintenance program might lubricate the bearings frequently but not include any disassembly for cleaning. The frequent lubrication, by its nature,

provides a limited kind of cleaning action, by displacing older (grit-filled) oil or grease with a fresh charge, which itself collects grit before being displaced by the next cycle. Packing Some bearings use a thick grease for lubrication, which is pushed into the gaps between the bearing surfaces, also known as packing. The grease is held in place by a plastic, leather, or rubber gasket (also called a gland) that covers the inside and outside edges of the bearing race to keep the grease from escaping. Bearings may also be packed with other materials. Historically, the wheels on railroad cars used sleeve bearings packed with waste or loose scraps cotton or wool fiber soaked in oil, then later used solid pads of cotton.[15] Ring oiler For more details on this topic, see Ring oiler. Bearings can be lubricated by a metal ring that rides loosely on the central rotating shaft of the bearing. The ring hangs down into a chamber containing lubricating oil. As the bearing rotates, viscous adhesion draws oil up the ring and onto the shaft, where the oil migrates into the bearing to lubricate it. Excess oil is flung off and collects in the pool again.[16] Splash lubrication Some machines contain a pool of lubricant in the bottom, with gears partially immersed in the liquid, or crank rods that can swing down into the pool as the device operates. The spinning wheels fling oil into the air around them, while the crank rods slap at the surface of the oil, splashing it randomly on the interior surfaces of the engine. Some small internal combustion engines specifically contain special plastic flinger wheels which randomly scatter oil around the interior of the mechanism.[17] Pressure lubrication For high speed and high power machines, a loss of lubricant can result in rapid bearing heating and damage due to friction. Also in dirty environments the oil can become contaminated with dust or debris that increases friction. In these applications, a fresh supply of lubricant can be continuously supplied to the

bearing and all other contact surfaces, and the excess can be collected for filtration, cooling, and possibly reuse. Pressure oiling is commonly used in large and complex internal combustion engines in parts of the engine where directly splashed oil cannot reach, such as up into overhead valve assemblies.[18] High speed turbochargers also typically require a pressurized oil system to cool the bearings and keep them from burning up due to the heat from the turbine.

Types
There are many different types of bearings. Type Description Friction Stiffnes Speed s Life Notes

Widely used, relatively Rubbing Depends on high friction, surfaces, materials Good, suffers from usually with and provide stiction in lubricant; constructio d wear Low to very some some n, PTFE is low, high - depends applications. Low to but upon Depending Plain bearings use has very coefficient some application upon the bearing pumped high lubrication of friction slack is and application, and behave ~0.05-0.35, normall lubrication lifetime can similarly to depending y be higher or fluid upon fillers present lower than bearings. added rolling element bearings. Rolling coefficient Used for of friction Good, Modera Ball or rollers Moderate to higher with steel but te to high (depends moment Rolling are used to can be some high on lubrication, loads than element prevent or ~0.005 slack is (often often requires plain bearing minimise (adding usually requires rubbing maintenance) bearings with resistance present cooling) lower friction due to seals,

packed grease, preload and misalignme nt can increase friction to as much as 0.125) Mainly used in low-load, high precision work such as clocks. Jewel bearings may be very small. Can fail quickly due to grit or dust or other contaminants . Maintenance free in continuous use. Can handle very large loads with low friction. Active magnetic bearings (AMB) need considerable power. Electrodyna

Off-center Jewel bearing rolls Low bearing in seating

Low due to Low flexing

Adequate (requires maintenance)

Fluid is forced Fluid between two bearing faces and held in by edge seal

Zero friction at Very zero speed, high low

Very Virtually high infinite in (usually some limited applications, to a few may wear at hundred startup/shutdo feet per wn in some second cases. Often at/by negligible seal) maintenance.

Faces of bearing are Magnet kept separate ic by magnets bearing (electromagn s ets or eddy currents)

Zero friction at zero speed, but Low constant power for levitation,

Indefinite. No Maintenance practica free. (with l limit electromagnet s)

eddy currents are often induced when movement occurs, but may be negligible if magnetic field is quasi-static

mic bearings (EDB) do not require external power.

Very high or Limited low depending range of Material on materials movement, Very and strain in Flexure flexes to give Very low Low no backlash, high. application. bearing and constrain extremely movement Usually smooth maintenance motion free. Stiffness is the amount that the gap varies when the load on the bearing changes, it is distinct from the friction of the bearing.