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Properties of Hybrid Ceramic Ball Bearings

Ceramic ball bearing is a kind of bearing which has something different from other types of ball bearings. And in today’s industries, there are more and more new categories of bearing products are developed to meet specific requirements.

Hybrid bearings are more and more commonly to be seen by us. One of the predominant applications for hybrid bearings is angular contact sets for high speed machine tool spindles. This application utilizes some of the key properties of the ceramic balls compared to steel: lower mass. The mass of a ceramic ball is about 40% of that of a steel ball of the same size. This means the hybrid ceramic bearing operates with less friction, less ball skidding, lower moment from gyro-spin, and therefore, lower operating temperature for a given speed, and higher limiting speed for a given size.

The hybrid ceramic ball bearing generally refers to a bearing assembly consisting of inner and outer rings of standard bearing steel, with silicon nitride ceramic balls. For some applications, the properties of the bearing with ceramic balls offer functional improvements in several different areas over a conventional all-steel bearing. There are many properties of the hybrid ceramic ball bearings.

First of all, this kind of bearing has higher stiffness. A hybrid ceramic design typically increases bearing stiffness by 15 to 20% compared to all-steel. This allows increased cutting accuracy, as the spindle deflects less under load. Overall vibration is also reduced.

Secondly, they hold potential benefits for a variety of bearing applications such as the smooth surface finish and high hardness. Bearing-grade ceramic balls are harder than bearing steel balls and have very good surface finish.

Wear between the surfaces is reduced, and there is no cold welding between the ceramic ball and steel raceways under poor lube conditions. Therefore, the hybrid design generally requires less lubricant and is more forgiving of marginal lubrication than the all-steel design. The high hardness of the ceramic balls also makes them more resistant to surface-initiated damage from contaminant particles.

Thirdly, they have better corrosion resistance. The chemically inert ceramic balls will not corrode – a potentially important issue for bearing applications such as food machinery and medical tools.

The last but not the least one is that they have better electrical resistance. Ceramic balls are nonconductive, and therefore would prevent electrical pitting damage to bearings in electric motors or related equipment.

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