Bearings are crucial components found in many types of machinery; thus, they are manufactured in a wide variety of forms and shapes. Regardless of the bearing type in question, all allow a specific type of motion in a system that is subjected to static or dynamic loading. More than that, these high-precision elements enable equipment to move at numerous speeds while efficiently transferring significant weight.
When two metal parts come in contact inside a machine, large amounts of friction are generated, leading to wear and tear of the material over time. With bearings, one can ensure that one element rotates seamlessly relative to another. Due to their capabilities, bearings are an integral part of many applications. To better understand the extent to which bearings are used, this blog will outline some of the most popular types and the applications they benefit.
Also called a bushing or sleeve bearing, a plain bearing has a cylindrical shape and lacks moving parts. Generally, plain bearings are used in machines with a rotating or sliding shaft component. They are available in metal or plastic variations, and they can be lubricated with oil or graphite to reduce friction between the shaft and the hole it rotates in. As such, they are typically utilized for sliding, rotating, oscillating, or reciprocating motion. There are also a few common subtypes, those of which include spherical plain bearings, rod end bearings, and two-piece plain bearings.
Often referred to as anti-friction bearings, rolling-element bearings have lower friction and reduced lubrication requirements when compared to their counterparts. They are designed to support and guide rotating and oscillating machine elements like shafts, wheels, or axles, and they can transfer loads between different components in an assembly. As they can minimize friction and enable high rotational speeds, rolling-element bearings reduce heat and energy consumption. This category of bearings can be subdivided into two main groups: ball bearings and roller bearings.
Jewel bearings are plain bearings with a metal spindle that turns in a jewel-lined pivot hole. Usually, the hole is torus-shaped and slightly larger than the shaft diameter. Meanwhile, the jewel material is a synthetic sapphire or ruby. Furthermore, jewel bearings are considered precision instruments where low friction, longlife, and dimensional accuracy are critical to a particular application.
Fluid bearings support loads through a thin layer of rapidly moving pressurized liquid or gas between the bearing surfaces. As there is no contact between the moving parts, there is an absence of sliding friction. This allows fluid bearings to experience lower friction, wear, pressure, and vibration. For this reason, they are used in machines that work at high speeds and loads. It is also important to note that they can be classified into two types: hydrostatic bearings and hydrodynamic bearings.
Magnetic bearings use the concept of magnetic levitation to hold a shaft mid-air. Since there is no physical contact, these bearings are considered zero-wear bearings. More than that, there is also no limitation on the maximum amount of relative speed it can withstand. With this in mind, they are often preferred over other variations because they can easily accommodate some irregularities in shaft design. Like the aforementioned types, magnetic bearings can be classified into two types: active magnetic bearings and passive magnetic bearings.
Other Common Types:
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