Probably one of the most widely used components, bearings find use in a variety of applications. In particular, bearings serve machines or devices that move, enabling rotation while reducing stress caused by friction. That being said, this blog will provide a brief overview of bearing parts, allowing you to better understand their design and functionality.
Outer Race & Inner Race
The first part that we will cover is the outer race and inner race, both of which provide the housing where the balls in the bearing rest. Along the inner circumference of the race, there is a groove where the balls are positioned in place. It is important to note that the outer race is susceptible to cracking if exposed to extreme forces. With this in mind, ensuring the assembly is made of a material with ample durability is paramount.
As previously mentioned, the inner race consists of a groove cut into the outer circumference of the bearing, providing a clearance for the balls to be held between the two races. The grooves in both races enable the balls to roll freely.
The balls within the races also necessitate a certain amount of space. As such, a bearing retainer is utilized to keep them in place. When the balls are held inside the bearing retainers, they have the ability to rotate with ease on their axis. However, they are not allowed to roll freely toward or away from one another.
Bearing shields are critical to the functionality of bearings, sealing off the bearing and protecting it from dust and other contaminants. Furthermore, bearing shields keep the bearing’s lubricant in place longer. For these reasons, bearing shields are critical to the service life of your bearing. Without the bearing shield, particulate matter can make its way inside or the lubricant may leak out, causing friction and corrosion to damage the components.
The balls are the last critical bearing component that will be covered in this blog. Without balls, friction between the races would render the bearing useless. Still, you cannot just have any ball type in any bearing. You must ensure that the balls you place in your bearings are manufactured to match the exact specifications of your bearing assembly. If a ball is even slightly asymmetrical, the effectiveness and efficiency of your bearing will be reduced. Moreover, the surface quality of the balls is also an important factor since it affects how smoothly a ball can rotate. Bearing material can impact the noise your bearing produces as well as the heat generated from friction which can affect its service life.
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