What Are the Three Main Parts of a Ball Bearing?

Bearings are frequently used in industrial machinery as a way to transfer and/or bear a load. As their name suggests, ball bearings utilize balls designed to reduce friction while simultaneously supporting a load. They are often found in engine shafts, centrifugal pumps, locomotive axles, and even computer hardware where they can facilitate the smooth rotation of internal fan(s). While there are a variety of different ball bearings types, most of them consist of three basic parts which are the balls, races, and cage.

Depending on the load, ball bearings can have a different total number of balls, with some containing hundreds, while others may only require three or four. The purpose of the balls is to transmit a load, and when they are exposed to a significant force, the balls will rotate to reduce friction, transmitting the load while maintaining their shape and integrity. In addition to other more specialized materials, the most common materials in which these balls are made from are acetal, glass, ceramic, nylon, and polypropylene.

Furthermore, all ball bearings will utilize races, those of which are the pathways that contain the balls. To best secure them, most designs feature an inner and outer race that have a uniform groove in the center. As the balls rotate in the bearing, they will follow these grooves and remain confined in the bearing, even when they are not fully enclosed. The races also keep the balls from getting stuck, allowing them to roll smoothly along a perfectly suited pathway.

Finally, the part of a ball bearing between the inner and outer races is called the cage. Acting as a container for the balls, the cage keeps the balls separated while they roll, holding them within the bearing body without restricting their rotation. Without a cage, the balls can easily wear each other out and become stuck. Moreover, the cage also helps distribute the load evenly across all surfaces so that it is not concentrated in one area.

All ball bearings will contain balls, races, and a cage, but they still come in a variety of different types that are suited for particular usages. Included in these types are angular contact ball bearings, deep groove ball bearings, duplex ball bearings, miniature bearings, precision ball bearings, and more. The unique designs of each of these types make some more durable and others more precise in their movements. For example, duplex ball bearings, which use two rows of ball bearings in place of one, are typically able to handle greater loads than the single-row variety.

There are many possible applications for bearings within the aerospace, automotive, agricultural, medical, military, and consumer goods sectors, among other specialty projects. Within the aerospace and aviation sector, in particular, ball bearings are frequently employed in air circulation systems, fuel supply machinery, navigation tools, airframe components, and many other crucial equiptment. Like any other aviation- or aerospace-grade part, the bearings used on aircraft must be resistant to vibration, temperature and pressure changes, and more, to be evaluated as airworthy.

When your aircraft requires aviation-grade bearings of proven durability and airworthiness, Internet of Components has you covered with our inventory of products. Sourcing only from top manufacturers who adhere to a high standard of quality assurance in their operations, we proudly stand behind the dependability of our offerings. Within the Aviation Parts section of our website, you can find a page of all the aircraft bearings we currently have available for purchase. There, we invite you to explore our offerings and freely request quotes for your comparisons on any items of interest. Backed by a widespread supply network and unique market expertise, we guarantee solutions fit to your exact needs, wherever you are located!


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