Advantages and Uses for Ceramic Ball Bearings

Ceramic bearings are just like the regular steel bearings only they’re made by white ceramic. Considering a ceramic dish, one may feel that a ball bearing wouldn’t be as strong as steel, or be less effective. The balls are made of solid silicon nitride and have absolutely nothing to do with dishes. The ceramic bearings are extremely hard, smooth and lighter than a steel ball. In fact, the ceramic bearings have been known to last up to ten times longer than their competitor, and carry less friction because the surface is smoother. Ceramic bearings also have better thermal properties in that they don’t hold heat like steel. Heat buildup can lead to machine failure, especially with inadequate lubrication. Many would prefer to avoid that mess if they can. Finally, ceramic bearings resist oxidation and corrosion which is a huge bonus. All the bearings need is a tiny amount of grease or oil in order to operate best. This makes them perfect for applications where lubrication is not available or unacceptable. Where to Find Ceramic Bearings There is a fear of investing in cheaper versions. In these ceramic bearings, once they heat up the ceramic portion tends to separate from the steel interior. A simple way to avoid this catastrophe is to work with a well-known and trusted manufacturer. If one is unaware of a manufacturer, they can get recommendations from colleagues or do an internet search. Check with the BBB or Better Business Bureau to avoid investing in faulty bearings. Ceramic bearings can be found in all sizes from various companies. Anyone who is concerned about the quality can judge them via roundness and grade. Grade 25 is considered high quality. The number has to do with its tolerance per millionth of an inch, so a grade 25 is accurate to about 25/1,000,000 of an inch. Roundness is important because the track on which the ceramic canister ceramic bearing runs will be less perfect than the bearing itself, therefore one can assume that there will be more control over accuracy with the roundness under control. Using the Rockwell Scale is another way to determine a quality bearing. This scale is a rating for hardness, and it allows them to rotate and not wear depending on the rating. A Rockwell Scale rating of 65 is good, but 70 or higher is preferred for ball bearings. The materials used to build a ceramic ball bearing are a grain structure which is much like its competitor the steel ball bearing. Stiffness is a measure of how well a bearing handles a load or stress put upon it. This is called modulus of elasticity. Ceramic bearings which are made from silicon nitride have extra stiffness so they handle better under large loads and provide savings for the user. Remember, stiffness is more important than weight. Armed with this knowledge about ball bearings, anyone can visit a physical or online store offering bearings and invest in the correct type and size. If for any reason there is question, it’s best to check with the machine or product’s manufacturer to ensure the correct bearing is being purchased. Saving oneself from a simple, costly mistake is worth the extra time it takes to confirm that a ceramic bearing should be used, and the associated characteristics and ratings it should have. Help the New Bearings Last Via regular care and maintenance, steel and ceramic bearings will last much longer. Manufacturers can recommend the proper schedule for lubrication and the like. All in all, there isn’t a set way or process to caring for bearings. Bearings should be cleaned and lubricated as normal. Newly installed balls should be covered well with grease or oil in relation to the environment being used.  

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