The ceramic bearings do not corrode in the same way as metal ones, making them perfect for environments in which contamination could pose an immediate danger, such as medical equipment or chemical mixing processes. Ceramics also don’t cause electromagnetic fields which make them an attractive option in harsh conditions such as chemical mixing.
Ceramic bearings offer many advantages over their steel counterparts; however, their greater cost may stem from increased energy requirements for sintering processes as well as higher machining expenses.
1. They are incredibly hard
Ceramic bearings are significantly harder than their steel counterparts, enabling them to withstand impact damage more effectively and making them an excellent choice for riders who spend extended amounts of time riding in harsh environments.
Ceramic’s hard surface also reduces friction when bearings rotate, meaning you will use less wattage to push forwards and thus experience reduced operating costs.
Ceramics tend to be more costly than their steel equivalents due to the manufacturing process being energy intensive and requiring superior raw materials.
Some manufacturers craft ceramics by combining steel and ceramic components. Cheaper ceramics often feature one ceramic ball and six steel ones. Their manufacturers claim this helps keep bearings cleaner for less frequent replacement, however this argument doesn’t hold water: maintaining low friction levels remains challenging even with just one ceramic ball!
2. They are incredibly durable
Ceramic bearings were initially developed for high-speed industrial equipment and race cars. Their smooth surface makes them more suitable for high rotation rates per minute (RPM), meaning faster performance while using less energy.
Ceramic material’s hard nature translates to longer lifespan than standard steel bearings, needing far less lubrication, pitting corrosion or pitting issues that traditional bearings do.
Ceramic bearings have been found to last up to 40% longer than steel ones, which can make an enormous difference for serious performance cyclists, who can realize significant time gains over a race or event thanks to these bearings.
3. They don’t rust
Full ceramic bearings don’t suffer the same fate as standard steel ones: corrosion from harsh chemicals and abrasives isn’t a concern, which makes ceramic bearings ideal for high-value applications like lab equipment or medical devices where even trace amounts of contaminants could prove potentially deadly.
Ceramics can also be up to one third lighter than their steel equivalents due to their lower density, helping reduce friction between the ball and outer race.
Stiffness is also of great significance, and ceramic bearings made of silicon nitride are considerably stiffer than their steel counterparts, providing greater load capacity without deflecting. This reduces energy wasted through vibration while increasing efficiency.
4. They are incredibly light
Ceramic bearings were developed specifically for industrial uses where RPM is high and load is low, eliminating the need for lubrication, thus reducing weight and contamination while at the same time improving performance and reliability. They’re an ideal solution for applications like aerospace, medical equipment and high altitude operating drone motors.
Ceramic silicon nitride (Si3N4) ball bearings are 60% lighter and feature smoother surfaces and uniform sizes than their steel counterparts, enabling them to spin more efficiently at higher speeds while using less wattage for this task.
Ceramic bearings offer increased efficiency through lower rolling resistance and centrifugal force, both enhanced by their smooth surface and dimensional stability. Furthermore, ceramics can effectively disperse heat which causes frictional resistance for steel bearings while increasing lifespan and lifespan respectively.