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Ideal material for bearing: silicon nitride ceramic

As an important mechanical basic part, silicon nitride ceramic bearings dominate the world of new materials because of their excellent characteristics unmatched by other bearings. Silicon nitride is not the hardest among industrial ceramics, nor is its toughness the highest, but in bearing applications requiring high performance, silicon nitride is considered to have the best mechanical and physical properties.

Performance comparison of 5 bearing materials

Heat resistance

Generally, when the operating temperature of steel bearings exceeds 120°C, the hardness will decrease and the rolling life will also decrease. Silicon nitride has good temperature characteristics and is especially suitable for high temperature environments.

Centrifugal force

The density of silicon nitride is about 3.24×103kg/m3, while the density of bearing steel is about 7.8×103kg/m3, which is only about 40% of the density of bearing steel. Therefore, when the rolling element uses the bearing, the bearing can rotate at high speed. Suppress the increase in rolling element load caused by centrifugal force.

Linear expansion coefficient

The linear expansion coefficient of silicon nitride is about 1/4 of that of bearing steel, so the dimensional change with temperature change is small, so it is beneficial to use in an environment with large temperature changes.

Hardness, coefficient of elasticity, Poisson’s ratio

Because the elastic coefficient of silicon nitride is about 1.5 times that of bearing steel, the elastic deformation of the relative load is small, and the rigidity of the relative load is higher.

Corrosion resistance, non-magnetic, insulating

Corrosion is a problem when steel bearings are used in machinery used in chemical machinery equipment, food, marine and other sectors. In a strong magnetic environment, steel bearings are used, and the fine powder worn down from the bearing itself is adsorbed between the rolling elements and the rolling surface, which will become the main reason for the bearing’s early spalling damage and increased noise.

In recent years, silicon nitride ceramic bearings have been indispensable in aerospace, navigation, nuclear industry, petroleum, chemical, textile industry, machinery, metallurgy, electric power, food, locomotives, subways, high-speed machine tools, scientific research, national defense and military technology. The role of substitution is gradually being recognized.


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