Extreme Conditions that Impact Bearing Life

January 9, 2020

Almost all manufacturing facilities of food, steel fabrication, aerospace, marine, automotive, medical devices, and others use rolling-element bearings. These bearings are among the most significant contribution of modern technology that makes any business produce products faster than ever before. They carry and support the load and transmit power while allowing relative motion between two structures.

Like any other materials, the life of the bearings still depends on various elements and factors. As a matter of fact, these bearings are rated with bearing life, which usually indicates the lifespan of the bearing before developing signs of metal fatigue. The bearing life rating is somehow based on the calculations assessing the bearing type, load, speed, and duty cycle. Extreme conditions, however, affect the life of bearings. In some instances, these following conditions may even reduce life expectancy significantly.


Bearings with poor materials are expected to deteriorate under high-temperature environments. Lubrication also performs poorly as the temperature increases. These factors are always looked upon when manufacturing and designing bearings. Manufacturers find ways to use the correct material and apply adequate lubrication that can overcome any irregularities and problems caused by temperature.

One of the most recommended materials in creating bearings is 52100 chrome alloy steel. It can withstand temperatures for up to 125 degrees Celsius. Custom-made bearings, however, can support and still operate in temperature above 350 degrees Celsius with the use of heat-stabilised materials. For the lubrication, a high-temperature grease or oil that can operate up to 285 degrees Celsius is recommended to maintain a decent bearing life.


Aside from the high temperature, bearings can also be affected by water and chemicals. The life of the bearings is usually affected by these elements, most especially to industries that are into food processing and irrigation systems. High-pressure water is common with food industries, while water and fertilisers affect the longevity of the bearings.

The materials used for the bearing must not only withstand high temperatures, but must also take note of the corrosive elements. Materials such as nitrogen-enhanced martensitic stainless steel and ceramic can be used as rolling elements. With these materials, you can expect phenomenal performance and bearing life under corrosive environments.


Another condition that affects the longevity and performance of bearings is vacuum environments. Outgassing, or the release of a gas that was dissolved or trapped in some materials, increases at higher temperatures. This outgassing property then requires solid lubricants such as gold, silver, and others for the bearing to work effectively. In retainer materials, austenitic stainless steel AISI 304 cages are preferred to reduce torque between the rolling element and the cage.

The bearings in the market consider the aforementioned conditions to keep their life as long as possible. If you want to have the best bearings for your business, then look no more as Global Bearing Imports got you. We are the leading manufacturer and supplier of bearings suitable for all industrial and automotive applications.

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