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A bit of a crush

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To those who travel regularly on a mass transit rail network like the London Underground or New York Subway, the term 'crush' will have its own and possibly unpleasant associations. Packed tightly into a carriage just as one more person squeezes in before the doors close, the experience (particularly at peak travelling times) is not quickly forgotten. But when applied to the technology of shell bearings, 'crush' is not just nice to have, it is absolutely essential. When...

Ceramic bearings

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In recent times the push behind developments in bearings containing a ball or rolling element has been that of improved, 'cleaner' steels. Because of its high hardness and therefore resistance to wear, chromium steel has been difficult to beat, and reducing the level of impurity - the number, type and size of any rogue inclusions - to improve the fatigue resistance has made them more so. In many cases when bearing selection is driven, at least in part by cost, mass-produced steel...

The overlayer

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There is nothing simple about a modern crankshaft bearing. Often referred to as 'plain' or simple shell bearings, I can assure you that even after 100-plus years of the internal combustion engine - 60 of them since the arrival of the 'thinwall' steel shell - development is still very much ongoing. Running for most of its time under benign, hydrodynamic lubrication, such a bearing nevertheless has to cope with a conflict in characteristics. A bearing has to be strong, being...

Dirty talk

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It's an interesting but nevertheless slightly surprising fact that the vast majority of premature bearing failures in engines are as a direct consequence of the presence of dirt. Such were the conclusions of a report I read recently, and while lack of lubrication, misalignment, overloading and corrosion all figured in the findings, well over 50% of all bearing-related engine failures recorded were put down to foreign bodies in the lubrication system. Now before we start reading too...

Rolling along

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In the search for ever lower engine friction, it is surely a wonder that the rolling element bearing hasn't featured very highly in recent years. So while ball or roller bearing technology is commonly seen in many engine ancillaries - for example, pumps, starter motors/generators, timing belt tensioners, rocker arms and now even turbochargers - the largest source of rotation friction, that of the crank and camshaft, have largely been avoided. I know two-stroke engines have, and continue...