What are the Different Bearing Types?


When constructing an aircraft or other complex machines that undergo heavy stress during operation, bearings are an extremely useful hardware component to have for assembly. Bearings are mechanical components that mitigate friction caused by parts moving within a system, as well as allow for transfer of axial and radial loads across components. There are various types of bearings that can act for a wide amount of applications, and some examples include the bush bearing, pillow block, thrust bearing, and antifriction bearing (ball and roller bearings).

Bush bearings are a type of plain bearing that feature rolling elements, and they are some of the simplest types. Bush bearings are useful for providing rotary applications with a contact area between components, called a bearing surface. Bushings may also come in the form of a thrust bearing, often referred to as a thrust washer.

The pillow block, which otherwise is known as a plummer block, refers to a pedestal housing with antifriction bearing parts installed within. The housing may include a variety of rolling parts and featured components will denote which type of pillow block the part is. A plummer block, on the other hand, is the pedestal without rolling elements, requiring a separate bearing to be installed and can be utilized for higher load applications.

The thrust bearing is a bearing component that allows parts to rotate, though is best utilized for axial loads. Thrust bearings come in various forms including thrust ball bearings, tapered roller thrust bearings, fluid bearings, cylindrical thrust roller bearings, and more. Within an aircraft, thrust bearings are used within equipment such as the aircraft engine.

Ball and roller bearings are considered rolling bearings, and these types feature rolling elements that are placed between races to take on the load of assembled components. Roller bearings are cylindrical, and they provide a large contact area that greatly increases their ability to take on loads. Ball bearing parts, on the other hand, have a small area for contact that results in a maximum amount of load they can take on. Nevertheless, their functionality remains the same between the two.


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