The stiffness of a rolling bearing is characterized by the magnitude of the elastic deformation (deflection) in the bearing under load. Generally, this deformation is very small and can be neglected. However, in applications like machine tool spindles and transmission differentials, stiffness is a key operational parameter.
Because of the contact conditions between the rolling elements and raceways, roller bearings, e.g. cylindrical (fig. 1) or tapered (fig. 2) roller bearings have a higher degree of stiffness than ball bearings. Bearing stiffness can be further enhanced by applying a preload (→ Bearing preload).
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