Bearings are useful components for a multitude of assemblies and industries, providing bearing surfaces for components to both restrict motion and to reduce friction between moving components. Through implementation within an assembly and lubrication, bearings can slow down the wear of components, facilitating their motion while extending their service lives. Within the realm of aerospace, aircraft bearings can be used to take on radial loads, thrust loads, and a combination of the two. Antifriction bearing and sleeve bearing parts are common to aircraft assemblies, both providing their individual abilities to aid in flight operations. In this blog, we will discuss sleeve and antifriction bearings so that you may understand how each functions, as well as how they are used within aircraft.
Sleeve bearings, also known as plain bearings or bushings, are those that function to facilitate movement between two components. The sleeve bearing is typically manufactured from plastic, metal, or fiber reinforced composite sleeves, and their bodies are constructed from metals such as steel or bronze. With their sleeve, the bearing can slide between moving parts in order to mitigate the amount of friction and noise that occurs. There are numerous advantages that sleeve bearing parts provide over other types, including factors such as their cost efficiency, ease of installation, low levels of maintenance, and more.
Sleeve bearings operate while following the principle of hydrodynamic lubrication, producing a wedge of oil in between the shaft and bearing as they rotate. For the wedge to be established and carry a load, it must have a clearance between the shaft and bearing. In general, there are five types of sleeve bearings, and these include the plain cylindrical bore, four-lobe bore, two-lobe bore, four pad tilting pad, and five pad tilting pad. Within aircraft, sleeve bearings are implemented within the crankshaft, camshaft, cam ring, connecting rogs, and accessory drive.
Antifriction bearings, also referred to as rolling contact bearings, are those that accommodate a load with the use of rolling elements that are placed between two races. Antifriction bearings are capable of bearing heavy radial and axial thrust loads depending on their type, and different designs exist to facilitate varying applications. Antifriction bearings provide for a good balance between cost, weight, load carrying capabilities, durability, friction, and more. Due to their abilities, antifriction bearings may be used within automotive, aerospace, marine, and industrial applications alike.
Within aircraft, antifriction bearings, such as straight roller and tapered roller bearings, are commonly used. Straight roller bearings are antifriction bearings that provide for radial loads only. Meanwhile, tapered roller bearings feature cone shaped inner and outer races, capable of withstanding both radial and thrust loads. Tapered roller bearings may commonly be found in high power reciprocating aircraft engines, located within the crankshaft. They may also be implemented within gas turbine engines when there are high radial loads. Ball bearings are another type of antifriction bearing, often used as shaft bearings and rocker arm bearings within various aircraft reciprocating engines.
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