Want to save a million barrels of petroleum a year, simply by changing the bearings in your machines? It sounds too good to be true, but ne w materials now make more-efficient ball bearings possible. All-ceramic bearings? lowe r density, friction, and lubrication needs let them last longer and save energy. Bearings use ceramics like silicon nitride (Si 3N4 ), alumina (Al 2O 3), or zirconia (ZrO 2 ) . Ceramic materials resist acids, alkalis, and salt. For these reasons, bearings using ceramic balls and races don?t need oil or grease
A ball bearing is a type of rolling-element bearing that uses balls to maintain the separation between the bearing races .
The purpose of a ball bearing is to reduce rotational friction and support radial and axial loads. It achieves this by using at least two races to contain the balls and transmit the loads through the balls. In most applications, one race is stationary and the other is attached to the rotating assembly (e.g., a hub or shaft). As one of the bearing races rotates it causes the balls to rotate as well. Because the balls are rolling they have a much lower coefficient of friction than if two flat surfaces were sliding against each other.
Ball bearings tend to have lower load capacity for their size than other kinds of rolling-element bearings due to the smaller contact area between the balls and races. However, they can tolerate some misalignment of the inner and outer races.
Ceramic bearings have the normal steel balls replaced by white ceramic balls. The ceramic balls are made of solid silicon nitride. Ceramic silicon nitride balls are called ceramic but have nothing in common with household dish ceramics. They are called ceramic because it's easier calling them ceramic then silicon nitride.
The ceramic silicon nitride ball is by far, smoother, harder, lighter and stronger than one made off steel. Si3N4 stands for the silicon nitrid e material and is black coloured, SiC stands for the silicon carbide material and also is black coloured, The ZrO2 stands for the zirconium dioxide, also known as zirconia or zirconium oxide, they are white coloured, a ZrO2 ball looks exactly like a pearl.
Ceramic ball bearings are often used in Rollerblades and skateboards and other applications where high speed and low friction is desired.
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