What are ball bearings really made of? Here comes the fun facts about how bearings are produced

What is ball bearing made of?

  • Ball bearing material features: Basically, ball bearing material features are made of steel balls, races, and a cage. With these three segments, ball bearings can reduce vibrate resistance while supporting a load.

The three main parts to produce a bearing

  • Steel balls are spherical types of components used as rolling mechanisms in rotary motion parts such as bearings, tooling, and wheels. There are many gauges and sizes used in a variety of purposes. This product holds the most crucial role in performing functionality and the most important purpose of this item is that it represents the importance in the rolling and rotation aspect of the bearing. Without it, it may cause the bearing to not be able to rotate in any directions.
  • Bearing cage is simply known as a bearing separator or a retainer; these are used interchangeably, it is the component in a ball bearing that separates the balls, rollers, or needles, and maintains them with symmetrical radial spacing, and holds the bearings together. The cage holds the balls in a uniform ring keeping them at an equally intervals within the bearing. It can be manufactured in a range of shapes and is developed using low-friction materials to allow the balls to continue rolling efficiently. There are different types of materials of bearing cages such as: steel bearing cages, ceramic bearing cages, and plastic bearing cages.
  • The main purpose of a race is basically like paths that allow the balls within ball bearings to glide while generating with no friction. In simple words is ball bearings require races to control their respective balls and it offers a fixed path on which the steel balls can roll.

There are two types of races in a bearing: the inner and outer races and a set of balls. Both races contain a ring in its race with a groove where steel balls remain. Apparently, steel balls will be having a direct contact with each race at a single point. Inner races are found on the inside of the balls and on the other hand, outer races are found on the outside of the balls. The balls within a certain ball bearing are sandwiched between these two types of races. These two races also rotate in an opposite direction to maintain its rotation.

What are the main components of the product bearing?

Now we will explain the three main components of ball bearings which are the most often heard: chrome steel, stainless steel, and ceramics. Thus, every ball bearing includes the main four parts: the outer race, inner race, balls and cage which each has its own use of purpose and characteristics.

Ball bearings are usually made of a kind of steel known as carbon chromium steel, which is mostly called chrome steel. There are also other steel materials that can be produced such as stainless steel, ceramics and plastic. However, each of its characteristics serve their purposes differently.

When chrome steel is unprotected to moisture in the air, this will cause the steel itself to corrode damaging the rotation of the bearing.

Stainless steel bearings provide several significant benefits when other materials cause problems because stainless steel particularly offers greater chemical and corrosion resistance, along with better stability in high temperature environments. It has the same deep raceway grooves and close conformity between raceways and balls as standard deep groove ball bearings made of carbon chromium (rolling bearing) steel. In comparison, chrome steel is the most common material used to produce the load carrying components in precision ball bearings, and it offers a cost-effective alternative to stainless steel. While less resistant to corrosion, chrome steel is durable and still resistant to corrosive factors in certain environments. Chrome steel is known for durability in dry environments or applications with low usage demands. It also has an appealing shiny finish when new. High-carbon chrome steel is a popular material for ball bearings, offering high load capacity, low-noise operation, and a long operating life.

In contrast, Ceramic ball bearings are made of ceramic rather than steel. Full ceramic ball bearings constructed entirely of ceramic material. The inner and outer races and balls are both made of Silicon Nitride (Si3N4) or Zirconium Oxide (ZrO2). The main characteristics are it provides higher hardness and better elasticity compared to chrome steel bearings. Furthermore, this type of bearings can be run completely dry, with excellent corrosion resistance allows them to run in concentrated acids, and totally submerged in seawater without corroding. Also, it is more suitable for temperature changes, the life cycle of full ceramic bearings is much longer than steel bearings.

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