Ball Bearings are the most common type of bearing and can handle both radial and thrust loads. Ball bearings are also known as deep-groove single-row or Conrad bearings. The inner ring is typically fastened to the rotating shaft and the groove on the outer diameter provides a circular ball raceway. The outer ring is mounted onto the bearing housing. The ball bearings are housed in a race and when the load is applied, it is transmitted from the outer race to the ball and from the ball to the inner race. The raceway grooves have typical curvature radii of 51.5% to 53% of the ball diameter. Smaller curvature raceways can cause high rolling friction due to the tight conformity of the balls and raceways. Higher curvature raceways can shorten fatigue life from increased stress in the smaller ball-race contract area.
The contact points between the ball and the outer race is very small due to the spherical shape of the bearing. This also helps the ball spin very smoothly. Since the contact point is so small, the bearing can become overloaded at a specific point causing the ball bearing to become deformed. This will ruin the bearing. Ball bearings are typically used in applications where the load is relatively small.
Straight Roller Bearings
Straight roller or cylindrical bearings run in cylindrical raceways and have low-friction, high-radial load capacity, and high speed capability. Roller bearings are cylinder-shaped bearings where the point of contact between the bearing and the race is a line rather than a point. Load is distributed over a larger area and allows the bearing to handle a greater load. To minimize its tendency to skew, the roller’s length is not much greater than the diameter of the roller.
Their usual design is free to float axially, and they have roller-guiding flanges on both sides of one ring and none on the other side. This allows for the bearing to expand due to thermal activity when used in combination with a ball bearing’s fixed location at the opposite end. A thrust load can be supported in one direction if a guiding flange is added on one of the opposing rings’ side. A second flange can be added for two-directional thrust capacity.