How Ball Bearings Work

How do ball bearings work? The basic principles of how the ball bearings works are fairly simple and relate directly to how swivel casters work too. The science behind them isn’t all that complicated.

The Basic Parts

A wheel (also known as a rotor) has two parts: the inner ring that contains ball bearings and a counter-weight. The inner ring is fitted between two cones that sit in a housing called a cup. These two cones, which are referred to as rollers, roll over an area called a cone track and this creates friction between them. When you push on the inside of the wheel, the ball bearings roll with the resistance and then push against the outer rim of the cone track creating constant friction.

How Ball Bearings Work in a Vehicle

The two rollers that push and pull the balls are called rollers. The rollers can either be axial or radial, depending on the vehicle’s drivetrain. The ball (the reliable element of the drivetrain) moves back and forth between the two rollers. As the balls move back and forth, a small but powerful electric motor (called a solenoid) regulates the speed and direction of the ball bearings.

Why They Are Important

Ball bearings offer several important advantages. They allow for the smooth transmission of power through the transmission system, and they keep the engine cool as well as providing a smoother, quieter transmission. The bearings themselves are called “dynamic flex”, because they change their shape based on the force exerted on them. The most flexible rollers are used with the least amount of slippage, as they do not have nearly as much to give.

The Science Behind It All

Finally,on to the science of how ball bearings work. The roller bearings are shaped similar to a half-sphere with the inner ring of the disc on the top. On one side of the inner ring, the rollers are parallel to the surface of the rim, while on the other side of the ring they are perpendicular to the rim. The rollers push the ball back and forth along the edges of the ring, which in turn pushes the fluid through the channels formed by the rollers.

It’s easy to understand how ball bearings work from basic physics. Just remember, a roller is a cylinder with an axial section. The rollers push the ball along the inside of the cylinder, which in turn spins the outer ring of the cylinder. If you want more in-depth answers to how ball bearings work, you can always do more research, but the concepts will remain the same.

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