Ceramic bearings are typically constructed with a ferrous inner and outer ring or race with ceramic balls in the place of steel. Ceramic bearings offer many advantages over all steel bearings, such as higher speed and acceleration capability, increased stiffness, lower friction and more. Ceramic balls are also nonconductive. Ceramic bearings are available in all standard industry configurations such as, angular bearings, thrust bearing, pillow block bearing, needle bearings, and roller bearings.
Ceramic bearings balls are typically made from (Si3N4) ceramic silicon nitride and have greater hardness than steel balls resulting in longer ball life. Ceramic bearing balls have smoother surface finishes than most steel bearing balls. Thermal properties are also better steel balls which result in less heat generation due to friction at high speeds. To manufacture a extra fine surface finish on ceraimc balls, the balls are elevated with a magnetic field and then polished with plasma stream. Ceramic bearings balls are rated at higher spin rates than steel bearing balls.
Cceramic bearing balls require less lubricant and exhibt less lubrication degradation, which results in increased bearing life. Ceramic bearings manufactured from Si3N4 can operate at temperatures up to 1600F. Ceramics also are resistant to oxidation.
Typical applications for ceramic bearings:
High temperature applications, friction, high speed, aircraft accessory, semiconductor and food processing, dental handpiece turbines. Many high speed electric motors requiring voltage isolation use cermic material bearings.