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Different Types of Ball Bearings and its Applications

9/17/2015 8:38:27 AM | by Stephen James

Ball Bearings

Ball Bearings are a type of rolling element bearing which is used to separate the moving parts of the bearing using a ball. These bearings reduce the rotational friction while supporting the radial and axial loads. Radial ball bearings can support moderate radial loads and moderate axial loads. It can operate high speeds around 400,000 RPMs and above. Using two races, the loads are being transmitted on the balls wherein one race is stationary and the other is attached on the rotating assembly. The ball rotates when one of the bearing races rotates therefore results to a low coefficient of friction. However, ball bearings have lower load capacity compare to other rolling elements because of the smaller contact area that these have between the races and the balls.


A ball bearing mostly made from stainless steel or chrome steel can be classified as axial, deep groove and angular contact bearing. An axial type of ball bearing mainly features its side by side races. Its axial load is directly transferred through the bearing while the radial load is separating the races. With the deep-groove ball bearing, higher loads are being supported since the race dimensions are close to the dimension of the balls running through it. The angular contact is another type of ball bearing which usually applied on most bicycles. This bearing can withstand high radial-axial loads and reach high speeds. It uses axially asymmetric races wherein it better supports both axial and radial loads. Its axial load passes through the bearing while the radial load tends to separate the race axially keeping the angle of the inner and outer race the same.


A wide range of application involving moving parts is the main function for these steel ball bearings. The following are some of the specific function and features included.


  • Yo-yos. Ranging from beginner to professional, there are ball bearings in the center of a yo-yo
  • Skateboard wheels. It contains two bearings commonly 608-2Z that are subjected to both axial and radial time varying loads.
  • Aerospace Bearing. It is applied mainly on commercial, private and military aircraft as well as jet engine shafts, pulleys and gearboxes. It can be made from carbon chrome steel, stainless steel, corrosion resistant steel, etc.
  • Watch movement. The use of bearings helps reduce the thickness of the movement.
  • Hard drive. Bearings are used to be highly spherical.


Ball bearings are one of the widely used bearing types today because of its versatility. It consists of various components including the rings, balls, cage, seal, and lubricant which highly contribute on its overall performance in a variety of applications. A wide array of materials, internal designs, precision levels are available to achieve a desired result.

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