ceramic ball bearing

Use of Ceramic Materials in Ball Bearings
Today’s engineers have many options available to them when faced with extreme, or demanding operating conditions. This includes the use of ceramic materials that have many benefits in a variety of applications. The most common use is producing the rolling elements- the balls, from a ceramic material with the inner and outer rings made from traditional, heat-treated, chrome or stainless steel. These bearings are commonly referred to as Hybrid Bearings. With improvements in manufacturing technology, Full Ceramic Bearings are also readily available. These bearings have both the inner and outer rings in addition to the rolling elements manufactured from ceramic material. While hybrid and full ceramic bearings demand a premium price, they are often the most economical solution when considering the cost of a failure and the total cost of ownership for the end-user.

Hybrid Bearings
The most common configuration is with chrome or stainless steel rings, and ceramic balls. Nitrogen enhanced stainless steel ring material is also available.

The most common ceramic material for the balls is silicon nitride, Si3N4. Compared to traditional steel balls, this material has desirable properties for rolling bearings, such as,

lightweight (approximately 60% lighter than bearing steel)
high hardness – over 75 HRc
higher elastic modulus – stiffer
lower coefficient of thermal expansion
higher maximum operating temperature – 1000⁰C
highly polished surface finish resulting in lower friction
Balls made of zirconia, ZrO2, are also available. This ceramic material has some properties similar to those of silicon nitride but differs in that it has some mechanical and thermal properties much closer to that of the alloy steel that the rings are made from. This can be desirable in maintaining the preload and contact angle over a broad range of operating temperatures.

Balls made of zirconia, ZrO2, are also available.(Zirconia ceramic ball bearing)

This ceramic material has some properties similar to those of silicon nitride but differs in that it has some mechanical and thermal properties much closer to that of the alloy steel that the rings are made from. This can be desirable in maintaining the preload and contact angle over a broad range of operating temperatures.

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Post time: Jan-02-2020
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