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Ceramic Hybrid Bearings: The Best of Both Worlds

February 09, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 150

Ceramic is one of the world's oldest materials known for its strength and durability, but you might not know that, considering the phrase is so often associated with things that are fragile, like pottery and ceramic Christmas ornaments.

Ceramic is a non-metallic solid that is created with heating and cooling, and it was used thousands of years ago to manufacture everything from pottery to weapons. Today, ceramics are still used in a number of ways due to the material's inherent strength and resistance to heat and harsh operating conditions. Little do many know, but ceramic is actually used in a wide variety of industrial applications when businesses need a solid and more resilient alternative to metals that might not stand up to certain hazardous environments. When combined with today's technology and manufacturing methods, ceramics have risen to the challenge to continually make more and more effective products possible for industries everywhere. One of these products is the ceramic hybrid bearing.

While bearings and ball bearings are used in all kinds of machines and products around the world, ceramic bearings are often used in industrial applications where high RPM's, high temperatures, and high speeds are at a level that steel simply can't handle. Additionally, ceramics are harder, lighter, and have a smaller coefficient of friction than steel.

What does that mean? Ceramic bearings can move faster, run cooler, and sustain less damage than a bearing made of steel. In many applications, dirt, dust, and debris will come into contact with the bearings. With the inherent resilience and hardness of ceramics, debris will have less of an impact on performance - making machines more reliable. This helps ensure that you get everything you need from manufacturers (when you need it) by cutting down on equipment failure.

While ceramics are better in many ways when compared to steel the material does tend to be more expensive. For many, this extra expense is offset by the durability and enhanced efficiency of ceramics. However, the equation is complicated even more when we introduce the equally effective cousin to ceramic bearings -- hybrid bearings.

Ceramic hybrid ball bearings use ceramic balls combined with steel inner and outer rings. They use ceramic balls because they weigh up to 40% less than the steel balls, reduce skidding, and can operate faster than conventional steel bearings. At the same time, the lighter ceramic balls enable the bearing to use less energy while spinning faster than standard steel balls. Ultimately, the hybrid bearing balances greater performance and efficiency overall with a price point that some might find more desirable.

Hank Moon frequently writes about science, technology, and many of the technologies we often tend to overlook. Recently, he's written about ceramic hybrid bearings, industrial automation, and other motion control technologies.

Source: EzineArticles
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