Constraints and trade-offs
Caged radial ball bearings
All parts of a bearing are subject to many design constraints. For example, the inner and outer races are often complex shapes, making them difficult to manufacture. Balls and rollers, though simpler in shape, are small; since they bend sharply where they run on the races, the bearings are prone to fatigue. The loads within a bearing assembly are also affected by the speed of operation: rolling-element bearings may spin over 100,000 rpm, and the principal load in such a bearing may be momentum rather than the applied load. Smaller rolling elements are lighter and thus have less momentum, but smaller elements also bend more sharply where they contact the race, causing them to fail more rapidly from fatigue.
There are also many material issues: a harder material may be more durable against abrasion but more likely to suffer fatigue fracture, so the material varies with the application, and while steel is most common for rolling-element bearings, plastics, glass, and ceramics are all in common use. A small defect (irregularity) in the material is often responsible for bearing failure; one of the biggest improvements in the life of common bearings during the second half of the 1900s was the use of more homogeneous materials, rather than better materials or lubricants (though both were also significant). Lubricant properties vary with temperature and load, so the best lubricant varies with application.
Although bearings tend to wear out with use, designers can make tradeoffs of bearing size and cost versus lifetime. A bearing can last indefinitely -- longer than the rest of the machine -- if it is kept cool, clean, lubricated, is run within the rated load, and if the bearing materials are sufficiently free of microscopic defects. Note that cooling, lubrication, and sealing are thus important parts of the bearing design.
The needed bearing lifetime also varies with the application. For example, Tedric A. Harris reports in his Rolling Bearing Analysis on an oxygen pump bearing in the U.S. Space Shuttle which could not be adequately isolated from the liquid oxygen being pumped, but all lubricants reacted with the oxygen leading to fires and other failures. The solution was to lubricate the bearing with the oxygen. Although liquid oxygen is a poor lubricant, it was adequate, since the service life of the pump was just a few hours.
The operating environment and service needs are also important design considerations. Some bearing assemblies require routine addition of lubricants, while others are factory sealed, requiring no further maintenance for the life of the mechanical assembly. Although seals are appealing, they increase friction, and a permanently-sealed bearing may have the lubricant contaminated by hard particles, such as steel chips from the race or bearing, sand, or grit that got past the seal. Contamination in the lubricant is abrasive and greatly reduces the operating life of the bearing assembly. Another major cause of bearing failure is the presence of water in the lubrication oil. Online water in oil monitors have been introduced in recent years to monitor the effects of both particles and the presence of water in oil and their combined effect.
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Author：mosbearing 2008-9-22 Source: View(799) Comment(0)