Understanding the Function and Advantages of Ceramic and Steel Ball Bearings

Ceramic and steel ball bearings are integral components in a variety of applications, ranging from bicycles and hobby equipment to professional gear that requires high speed and load capacity. These bearings are available in various sizes and offer unique benefits depending on their material composition.

Ceramic Bearings in Bicycles and Hobby Equipment

Ceramic bearings are increasingly prevalent in bicycles and other hobby equipment, such as fishing reels, slot cars, and rollerblade wheels. Most sizes of bicycle cartridge bearings can house ceramic bearings, which usually sit between steel internal and outer races. Ceramic bearings can also be purchased as loose ball bearings, providing versatility for various uses.

Professional Applications of Ceramic Bearings

In professional settings, ceramic bearings are essential where there is a large speed, heavy load, and consequently, high temperature. For instance, while a bicycle going at 80 kilometers per hour (about 50 mph) could have hubs that rotate about 11 revolutions per second, an engine crank shaft may turn at over 100 revolutions per second, necessitating the use of ceramic bearings.

Quality and Rating of Bearings

The quality of a bearing is described by various ratings, like the rating of ball roundness. A top-quality steel ball bearing is usually considered grade 25, referring to the tolerance per millionth of an inch. Lower-quality ball bearings may be grade 300, which are significantly less rounded. Ceramic bearings may be grade 5, offering a rounder ball bearing. However, the need for roundness should not be overrated as the bearing areas the balls run on will likely not be as accurate as the quality of the ball bearing.

Material Properties of Bearings

Bearings are rated for hardness on the Rockwell scale. Steel uses the Rockwell C scale, and ball bearings are hard. This hardness allows them to rotate and not wear, at least for a while. Ceramic ball bearings, being a Rockwell C of 75, are much harder than the steel races, providing good wear characteristics for the entire bearing system.

Surface Finish and Stiffness

The surface finish of a bearing is also important. Ceramic bearings are not necessarily smoother than steel balls. A significant property of any bearing material is “stiffness”, measured by the “Modulus of Elasticity”. Ceramic bearings made from silicon nitride can have a Modulus of Elasticity of 47,000,000 pounds per square inch, greater than that of steel bearing. This extra stiffness means the balls will deflect less under load and transfer energy more efficiently.

Maintenance and Service

There is no particular procedure or process for the service of these bearings. They can be cleaned and lubricated as usual. Loose ball bearings can be installed and adjusted similar to metal balls. With cartridge bearings, it is possible to lift the seal, check the grease, clean the bearing, and add grease as required.

Why Choose WLY’s Steel Ball Bearings?

At WLY, we pride ourselves on offering top-quality steel and ceramic ball bearings that can withstand high loads, speeds, and temperatures. Our bearings are made with precision engineering and high-grade materials, ensuring durability and longevity. We offer competitive prices and excellent customer service, making us your go-to supplier for all your bearing needs. We strongly encourage customers to explore our products and contact us for purchase.


Common Questions about Bearings

1. What is the difference between ceramic and steel bearings?

Ceramic bearings are typically harder and stiffer than steel bearings, allowing them to withstand higher loads and speeds. They also have a higher Modulus of Elasticity, meaning they deflect less under load and transfer energy more efficiently.

2. How do I maintain my bearings?

You can maintain your bearings by cleaning and lubricating them regularly. For cartridge bearings, you can lift the seal, check the grease, clean the bearing, and add grease as required.

3. Why should I choose WLY’s bearings?

At WLY, we provide high-quality, durable bearings made from top-grade materials. We offer competitive prices, excellent customer service, and products that can withstand high loads, speeds, and temperatures.





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