Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Thrust Bearings: What You Should Know

Bearings are the unsung heroes of the machinery world, helping keep things running smoothly without anyone giving them a second thought. We use bearings every single day of our lives, but few of us even realize it. One type of bearing that’s particularly useful is the thrust bearing.

What Is a Thrust Bearing?

There are seemingly endless different types of bearings for use in all kinds of industrial applications, but the one thing they all have in common is that they bear loads and force to enable two or more moving parts of a machine to operate with minimal friction between them. Without bearings, these parts would be in direct contact with each other and the friction would eventually damage them beyond repair.

Thrust bearings are rotary bearings that are specifically designed to bear a predominantly axial load. All rotary bearings function by allowing two or more parts to rotate, but it is only a thrust bearing that can perform this function while also supporting axial loads of varying sizes.

Thrust bearings are comprised of two raceways, or washers, and rolling elements or bearing balls. Different types of thrust bearings have different designs, but the overall function remains the same.

Thrust Bearing Materials

Chrome steel, stainless steel, bronze, and brass are common materials used in the manufacturing of thrust bearings. Stamped sheet-metal is sometimes used as well. Ceramics and ceramic hybrids are used in some types of thrust bearings too. These typically have metal raceways and ceramic rolling elements. 

When Are Thrust Bearings Used

Thrust bearings are used in turbines, motors, and pumps. They’re also found in generators and compressors. Whenever there is an application that requires oil lubrication and that operates at high speeds, thrust bearings are a potential option. For this reason, they are commonly used in aerospace, marine, and automotive manufacturing. An example of thrust bearing in use is in the gearbox of a car.

Types of Thrust Bearings

Two of the most common types of thrust bearings are ball thrust bearings and roller thrust bearings. Ball thrust bearings cannot bear as much axial load as other types of thrust bearings, while roller thrust bearings can work in situations with a higher axial load. Ball thrust bearings are made of several ball bearings held between two raceways, which may have grooves or be flat. Roller thrust bearings have cylindrical rolling elements rather than ball bearings; the cylindrical surface gives them more contact area, which is why they can carry higher axial loads.

Other types of thrust bearings include cylindrical thrust roller bearings, tapered roller thrust bearings, fluid bearings, and magnetic bearings.

Learn More About Atlas Bronze Thrust Bearing

To find out more about Atlas Bronze thrust bearings, contact us at 1-800-478-0887 to speak to one of our sales representatives about our offerings. We’ll help you through the process of choosing the right bearings for your application to make sure your project is a success. Our team looks forward to working with you.


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