Introduction: Ready to move on to "Reel Bearings 201?" The second installment of the tutorial continues to build on the fundamentals presented in Reel Bearings – 101. It covers ceramic bearings, bearing corrosion, lubrication, and other related topics. Bust out those notebooks, its time to talk bearings...
Ceramic and Bearings: Advanced ceramic materials were initially used in the early-60's, mostly as coatings on power turbines and electrical generating equipment. The hardness, electrical resistance, and light weight of the material made them ideal for these applications. Not long after that, advanced ceramic materials began to be used as man-made abrasives. Today they are used in a number of common products, yet most don't even recognize them.
Now when I say ceramic, I'm not talking about the same type that is used in your grandmother's china. I'm talking about industrial ceramics – typically made from compounds of synthesized powders which are joined under extremely high pressure and heat. (In fact, many closely resemble natural sapphire and ruby, and advanced ceramics have a harness that approaches diamond.) Besides, a table setting of fine dishes made from industrial ceramics would cost millions of dollars!
Industrial ceramics are extremely resistant to wear, lighter than most metals, relatively strong, and are corrosion resistant. If there was anything bad to say about them, it would be that they will brittle fracture under stress, if there are surface pores, cracks or flaws from the manufacturing process. That was the problem with early ceramics used in industrial applications, but that was a long time ago – and no matter what you've heard, most manufacturing processes have been improved to mitigate fracture defects, since that time! Read More »