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How To Use Thrust Bearings?

The ball, sometimes referred to as a flat bearing, consists of a support ring supported by a ball bearing and held between two axial discs. Axial bearings enable a wide range of axial loads, from very high to very low axial pressure. The rolling element, the ball or needle roller, is designed for pure thrust force and processes little to no radial load. 

The rolling element is barrel-shaped and the raceway closely resembles the tapered cup design found in standard tapered roller bearings. The complete thrust bearing unit normally consists of two thrust bearings, a ball lock, and comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, such as spherical roller bearings. 

These bearings are equipped with self-aligning capabilities, which is advantageous in applications where shaft deflection and shock loads may occur. 


In tapered roller bearings, the ratio between axial and radial load is determined by the angle between the roller axis and the bearing axis. In one direction (or in some variants that exist in both directions) heavy axial thrust forces are supported, but moderate radial loads can also be tolerated. Just like the hydrodynamic gun bearing, the hydrodynamic thrust bearing is powered by oil to support the rotor. 

Oil is injected into the thrust disc of the bearing, creating an oil wedge between the oil disc and the hydrodynamic thrust bearing. The bearing itself has two different types of oil wedges, one for axial thrust and another for radial thrust. This depends on the type and equipment manufacturer as well as the size and shape of the rotor. 

The oil can handle a charge of about 500 psi before it collapses, but the equipment manufacturer must select the charge. The cylindrical roller bearing is an arrangement that is stiffer and can carry higher loads. It is shock and load resistant, but due to its stiffness not as strong as the hydrodynamic axial bearings.

It is used in configurations where other thrust bearing designs have the insufficient load-bearing capacity. Cylindrical roller bearings have a simple component shape that allows them to create a raceway for joining components. Spherical roller bearings offer the same rigidity and load-bearing capacity as hydrodynamic thrust bearings, but with a different shape and rigidity. 

Hydrodynamic thrust bearings, in which the axial thrust bearing is supported by a thin layer of pressurized fluid, exhibit less resistance than their hydrodynamic fluid bearings. 

In relation to radial ball bearings, the contact angle of the axial bearing is increased to 90 degrees. Consequently, only the axial loading occurs, and the thrust bearings are of their specific design. They can be used as required, e.g. in Zippe centrifuges, but also in other applications, e.g. in high-pressure centrifuge systems. 

The function of the bearings of fundamentally different design is to redirect the force from the axial bearing to the radial ball bearing and vice versa. The difference from these bearings is reflected in the fact that the load is evenly distributed over the rolling elements. 

Standard radial bearings are specially designed to absorb radial forces, but can also absorb small and medium axial forces.


As fluid and magnetic bearings for thrust applications are also manufactured, these areas can be identified and addressed if necessary. Due to their special design, thrust bearings, in particular, are ideal for applications where the speed is low to medium, and in some cases, higher rigidity is required. As with radial or deep groove ball bearings, the load is distributed among the rolling elements of the axial bearing. 

The angle between the axial bearing and the center of mass of the ball bearings (or center of gravity) determines the thrust that the bearing can absorb. 

If the angle is greater than 45 degrees, the bearing is better suited for axial loads and can withstand them up to 90 degrees. Tilt-pad thrust bearings are designed to transfer high axial loads to the rotating shafts, simplifying installation and maintenance. 

The maximum load for different bearing types ranges from 0.5 to 500 tons, and the shaft diameters for which the bearing is designed to vary depending on the shaft type and shaft diameter. 

This also means that there is not much contact surface to hold the load so that the ball can be deformed or squeezed when the bearing is overloaded and ruins it. This is considered non-standard and can make a ball more susceptible to damage than other types of bearings, such as ball bearings. 

Rolling bearings, such as those shown below, are used in applications such as conveyor belts and rollers where heavy radial loads need to be held. 

A roller is like a cylinder, but there is no contact between the inner and outer race at any point in the line. An axial bearing is a type of bearing that belongs to the class of rolling bearings. Bearings are used in a wide range of machines, including conveyor belts, conveyor belts, as well as in many other applications. 

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