Materials for rolling bearings
The materials from which bearing components are made, determine, to a large extent, the performance and reliability of the bearing. For the bearing rings and rolling elements, typical considerations include hardness for load carrying capacity, fatigue resistance in the rolling contact area, under clean or contaminated lubrication conditions, and the dimensional stability of the bearing components. For the cage, considerations include friction, strain, inertial forces, and in some cases, the chemical action of certain lubricants, lubricant additives, solvents, coolants and refrigerants. The relative importance of these considerations can be affected by other operational parameters including moisture, elevated temperatures, shock loads or a combination of these and other conditions.
Seals integrated in rolling bearings can also have a considerable impact on the performance and reliability of the bearings. Their materials must be able to withstand oxidation (ageing), wear and chemical attack over a wide temperature range. Bearings that are capped on both sides normally are lubricated for life. For detailed information about lubrication and lubricants, refer to Lubrication.
SKF has the competence and facilities to provide a variety of materials, processes and coatings. Therefore, SKF application engineers can assist in selecting the bearing, cage and seal materials that best meet the needs of a particular application.