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Hybrid bearings: a developing technology

04 March 2019

Hybrid bearings perform well under poorly lubricated and contaminated conditions. While they are much less prone to surface distress than their all-steel counterparts, imperfections that may pre-exist in the material or on the surface of a hybrid bearing’s ceramic rolling elements can potentially compromise performance.

Phil Burge, Marketing and Communications Manager at SKF, explains the construction of hybrid bearings and reveals new research that is attempting to address issues surrounding the integrity of their ceramic components, which could open up their applications potential.

Hybrid bearings comprise of steel rings and ceramic rolling elements – the latter generally produced from bearing grade silicon nitride. In all other respects, with the exception of some metallurgical details and special cage materials and designs, they have little structural difference from conventional all-steel rolling element bearings. Similar to their all-steel counterparts, hybrid bearings come in a variety of types, including single row deep groove ball, single row cylindrical roller and angular contact ball bearings in sealed and non-sealed variants. While they may currently be a more costly alternative to all-steel bearings, a hybrid bearing does have some distinct performance advantages.

The raceways of ‘standard’ hybrid bearings are constructed from regular carbon chromium bearing steels with rolling elements made from a silicon nitride ceramic. The latter is separated by conventionally designed cages constructed from standard cage materials. However, because of the severity of service that they are occasionally expected to endure, some hybrid bearings make use of more exotic materials.

Read the full article in the March issue of DPA

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