Full Ceramic Angular Contact Bearings are made entirely of ceramic material and are superior to common Steel Angular Contact Bearings in many ways. Ceramic is the perfect material for any application seeking to achieve higher RPM’s, reduce overall weight or for extremely harsh environments where high temperatures and corrosive substances are present. Applications such as cryopumps, medical devices, semiconductors, machine tools, turbine flow meters, food processing equipment, robotics and optics. Ceramic materials commonly used for angular contact bearings are Silicon Nitride (Si3N4), Zirconia Oxide (ZrO2), Alumina Oxide (Al2O3) or Silicon Carbide (SiC.)
Because ceramic is a glass like surface it has an extremely low coefficient of friction and is ideal for applications seeking to reduce friction. Ceramic balls require less lubricant and have a greater hardness than steel balls which will contribute to increased bearing life. Thermal properties are better than steel balls resulting in less heat generation at high speeds. Full Ceramic bearings can have a retainer or full complement of balls, retainer materials used are PEEk and PTFE.
Full Ceramic Angular Contact Bearings can continue to operate under extremely high temperatures and are capable of operating up to 1800 Deg. F. Ceramic is much lighter than steel and many bearings are 1/3 the weight of a comparable steel bearing. Full ceramic bearings are highly corrosion resistant and will stand up to most common acids, they will not corrode in exposure to water or salt water. And finally full ceramic bearings are non-conductive.
Full Ceramic Angular Contact Bearings are designed such that there is an angle between the races and the balls when the bearing is in operation. An axial load passes in a straight line through the bearing, whereas a radial load takes an oblique path that tends to want to separate the races axially. So the angle of contact on the inner race is the same as that on the outer race. Full Ceramic Angular Contact Bearings are typically assembled with a thrust load or preload. The preload creates a contact angle between the inner race, the ball and the outer race. The preload can be done while manufacturing the bearing or it can be done when the bearing is inserted into an application.
The contact angle is measured relative to a line running perpendicular to the bearing axis. Full Ceramic Angular Contact Bearings are capable of withstanding heavy thrust loads and moderate radial loads. The larger the contact angle (typically in the range 10 to 45 degrees), the higher the axial load supported, but the lower the radial load. In high speed applications, such as turbines, jet engines, dentistry equipment, the centrifugal forces generated by the balls will change the contact angle at the inner and outer race.