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Critical Part, Critical Power – Thrust Bearings

Mar 09, 2016

Thrust bearings absorb axial loads from rotating shafts into the stationary housings or mounts in which they are turning. They are those which can be transmitted linearly along the shaft.A good example of axial load is the forward thrusts or airplanes as a result of their propeller’s rapid rotation. Widely used by every industry, they are also used in power drills, where the user puts their weight into a rotating bit to drill through tough materials. The design of such bearings is mostly empirical, and long life is an elusive goal.The use of these bearing has added immeasurably to the life, reliability and economic performance on its applications for scores of years.Applicable in automotive, marine and aerospace machinery and equipment’s, these bearings give the value more than expected to give the ultimate solution.

They come in variants :

  • Thrust ball bearings, the commonly type of bearing found in everything that is from inline skates to hard drives, these bearings handle both the radial and thrust loads in those applications where load requirement is not that big. As the ball is round in shape it only contacts the inner and outer race at a very small point,thereby helping it spin smoothly.
  • Cylindrical thrust roller bearings, required to hold heavy radial loads, they are used in applications like conveyor belts. Due to its cylindrical shape,the contact between the inner and outer race is not a point but a line. However, these bearings are not designed to handle much heavy thrust loads.
  • Roller thrust bearings, they support large thrust loads and are often found in gear sets like car transmissions between the gears and also between the housing and the rotating shafts.
  • Tapered roller thrust bearings, supports both the large radial and large thrust loads which are mounted in pairs when applied in car hubs, facing the opposite directions,they handle thrust in both the directions.
  • Fluid bearings, a type of bearing that has no parts to actually come in contact with each other, they are a thin film of fluid under pressure that serves to bear the entire load placed on the bearing. They can utilize a number of different fluids like oil being the most common, although water and air are also used in some types of fluid bearings. A fluid bearing has many advantages over a standard ball bearing that rely on a series of round steel balls or rollers to support the load on the bearing. These often consume more power due to their need for pumps for fluid delivery; also they do not perform well under conditions where a shock can be delivered to the bearing.
  • Magnetic bearings, high-speed devices, like advanced flywheel energy storage systems use these bearings, they allow the flywheel to float on a magnetic field created by the magnetic bearing. As the magnetic bearing has no moving part,they can handle these speed very effectively.

The development of these bearings do not get hampered by our manufacturing limitations when producing these bearings like the inability to calculate contact stresses produced and the low strength of available materials under cyclic stresses.

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