How Bearings Work


All machines have something in them called bearings. Bearings are an essential part of a machine or vehicle. Think of the wheels of your car as bearings. They roll instead of sliding on the ground. It’s easier to move a vehicle when the wheels are rotating, right? Try changing the wheels into ice skate blades. Is it still easier to move the car with blades than wheels?

All things, when they slide, they can create friction. Friction is the term used for the resistance of an object to move in relation to another object. Friction is usually present inside machinery because of the components moving inside. Friction causes heat, which is one of the enemies of any machine. Luckily, bearings are present so that it helps prevent friction when components collide with each other.

Kinds of Bearings

Radial Load – Radial bearings are commonly found in pulleys and electric motors. Radial loads can be found on the right angles of shafts.

Thrust Load – Thrust loads are usually found parallel to the axis of the rotation. It loads in thrust, hence the name. The thrust load comes from the weight of the load, which the bearing supports discover this. These are usually found in car wheels.  

There are also bearings that can support both thrust and radial loads. An example would be a car. Radial load is where the weight of the car. When the car turns to a corner, the thrust load is exerted on the bearings.

How Do Bearings Work?

Like what has mentioned above, bearings help prevent heat caused by friction. The bearings inside the machine roll around as the object it supports moves. This allows two components inside to constantly move without causing heat.

Types of Bearings

There are a lot of types when it comes to bearings. Each has their own use. They also rely on what kind of load will the bearings support. Below are some of the types of bearings.

Ball Bearings – Ball bearings are the most common. These are usually found in everyday objects such as skates and hard drives. They help facilitate the smooth rotation of an axis and helps reduce friction.

Roller Bearings – The main purpose of roller bearings is to support and prevent rotational friction in the axial and radial loads. These bearings can support heavier radial loads, as opposed to ball bearings. They are usually shaped cylindrical so that their contact with the inner and outer race is a line. They are usually designed to support heavier radial loads by they can’t handle heavy thrust loads. Roller bearings are usually found in conveyor belts.

Roller Thrust Bearings – Unlike roller bearings, roller thrust bearings can support heavy thrust loads. It allows misaligned rotation with ease. They are usually perpendicular to the shaft. They also come in different shapes because their contours affect their efficiency in preventing friction. They are usually found in housing and rotating shafts.  

Tapered Roller Bearings – Tapered roller bearings are bearings that are designed to carry very heavy radial and thrust loads. They are very stiff, which makes them insensitive to shock loads. These are usually found in car hubs. They usually come in pairs to support and handle the loads in both directions.  

Check out Bearings Direct for all the bearings you need!