Almost every industrial machine relies on a roller bearing to create smooth, low friction movements. Entire systems last longer when the moving parts employ roller bearings and ball bearings. The strength and support provided by the rings or balls within a bearing are essential to their function, so stainless steel is a favored material due to its longevity, but certain instances require materials that meet additional demands. These concerns include greater resistance to corrosion, porosity, cost savings, seizure resistance, lightweight construction, and high durability. For this reason, bearings made of other materials can be found on the market for a variety of purposes. This blog will explore a few popular materials for bearings and the unique features each has to offer.
The cheapest alternative to the stainless steel bearing is the carbon steel bearing. This material comprises a carbon element which lowers its melting point and establishes an ability to operate under large loads or high speeds. One benefit of this material is that it is hard despite being a low price, so it is often used in day-to-day applications such as shopping carts or bikes.
A second common cheap alternative to stainless steel is chrome steel. This material is found in more industrial applications such as vibrating motor systems and linear motion components because it can bear higher loads than carbon steel for similarly low prices. Chrome steel bearings also offer high hardness, being made of a steel compound with a low chromium level. This material is one of the most commonly used for bearings; however, it requires maintenance of lubrication and is not resistant to corrosion or chemicals.
Stainless steel is a comparatively expensive and heavy material for bearings, but it offers the most benefits for intense industrial applications. These bearings are more effective than alternatives in their ability to withstand heavy loads and corrosion. Additionally, stainless steel is more temperature flexible, making it reliable for use in high humidity and high chemical exposure environments. Similar to chrome steel, this material also requires lubrication maintenance. While all three of the aforementioned metal materials cover a wide range of applications, nonmetal alternatives offer different benefits.
Some non-metallic bearing materials on the market include ceramic and polymer plastics. Ceramic bearings are used when machinery requires non-magnetic components. These beatrings are both durable and non corrosive with two rings of ceramic and a fluorine resin retainer, and they are more lightweight than steel bearings. Polymer plastics are also lightweight and do not require lubrication. One benefit of these materials, which include nylon and silicon nitrate, is their porous composition. This makes them reliable under high temperature ranges. Polymer plastic bearings can often be found within electrical switch gears or water turbines.
A final popular material for bearings are hybrid mixes of metal and nonmetal materials. These bearings employ steel for the rings and silicone nitrate to manufacture the rolling elements, making them ideal for strength and high speeds, while also being resistant to conducting electricity. High-level research and science machines such as cryogenic chambers, aerospace engineering, and medical equipment make use of hybrid bearing components and materials.
Depending on your specific application, there are many different types of reliable bearing materials on the market. You can rely on us at Automatize Aviation to offer premium bearings from trusted manufacturers, including Zebra Technologies, Sanford Ink Corporation, Qualtek, Radio Shack, and Lacie. Owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, quality is the cornerstone of our business and we operate with a strict NO CHINA sourcing policy in addition to AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, and FAA AC 00-56B accreditation. We invite you to explore our vast inventory or get started with purchasing today by filling out an RFQ form and receiving a quote within 15 minutes!
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