Bearings vs. Bushings ?

Any piece of machinery will feature moving parts that facilitate relative sliding or rolling motion. For instance, machine tools exhibit linear sliding motion, and automobile wheels provide an example of rotational motion. In most cases, the moving parts used to help these motions occur are either bearings or bushings. This blog will explain the basics of bearings and bushings, what they do, and how they differ.

What is a Bearing?

A bearing is a precision-made machine component that allows machinery to move at extremely high speeds while handling stress and limiting friction between moving parts. Bearings are typically used to support rotating shafts in machinery. When two components are rubbed together, it generates energy loss through friction and normal wear and tear. An appropriately designed and applied bearing will minimize both friction and wear. Side effects of this are extension of bearing life, reduction of energy losses and wear, and reduction of machinery maintenance costs.

Working of a Bearing :-

Bearings allow relative motion between movement of elements while allowing space between them. The form of bearing best suited to a machine depends on the relative movement required and the stress that will be applied to the bearing. Bearings are generally divided into two classes: journal bearings and thrust bearings. In a journal bearing, the load acts as right angles to the axis. In a thrust bearing, the load acts parallel to the axis.

Types of Bearing :-

Generally speaking, there are two types of bearings: ball bearings and roller bearings. Ball bearings reduce rotational friction and support radial & axial loads by using two or more races to contain the balls and transmit the load through them. In most configurations, one of the races is fixed, while the other can move freely. The rotation of the balls means the coefficient of friction is much lower than if two flat surfaces were rotating on eachother. Compared to other rolling-element bearings, ball bearings are less expensive due to the low cost of producing the balls used within the system. Ball bearings have many designs, and come in many materials including stainless steel, chrome steel, and ceramic.

The second type of bearings, roller bearings, are widely used in industrial applications. They are called roller bearings because they carry a load by using rolling elements between the two races. Most roller bearings comprise a cylinder whose length is greater than its diameter. Roller bearings have a higher radial load capacity than ball bearings but also higher friction and lower axial capacity.

Read More :- Types Of Bearings And Its Uses

What is a Bushing?

A bushing is a cylindrical machine component used to support a shaft. A bushing is actually a type of plain bearing. The two are nearly identical apart from their construction. A bushing is an independent one-part device while bearings are generally made of two or more parts. Bushings are primarily used as a support component within an assembly to reduce friction and wear between mechanical parts. They are the most important aspect of power transformers, and, without bushings, power transformers would not exist. While a bearing follows relative motion by rolling, a bushing does so by sliding.

Working of a Bushing :-

Bushings support shafts and carry out a sliding motion between two moving components. Used in countless applications, bushings provide features that many roller bearings are unable to. At their core, a bushing is a plain bearing equipped with a rolling element such as a ball or other roller. What distinguishes bushings from other roller bearings is its assembly. A bushing is a single part, whereas a bearing can have two or more parts. Perhaps the most common bushing application is in automobile suspension systems, where rubber bushings are used to ensure a harmonious balance between a smooth ride and vehicle durability.

Types of Bushing :-

Similar to bearings, bushings also come in a variety of types, sizes, and materials. Bushing materials can include cast or machined metals, stabilized polymers (plastics), fiber-wound composites, and many other composite materials. Some of the most popular types of bushings are self-lubricating bushings, metal-polymer composite bushings, bi-metallic composite bushings, bronze wrapped bushings, metallic self-lubricating bushings, filament wound bushings, and injection molded plastic bushings. Each of these bushing configurations serves an important purpose in a given application.

Uses of Bearing and Bushing :-

Bearings and bushings both have many uses. Ordinary bearings have a sliding contact while ball and roller bearings have a rolling contact. Therefore, they are used for different things. Bearings are found throughout automobiles where they are needed for wheels, the steering mechanism, internal transmission components, and suspension components. Additionally, bearings are used in aircrafts, shifts, pumps, power turbines, manufacturing & machine tools, and many household appliances. In general, bearings are used in precision, low-load applications. The most common use of a bushing is in vehicle suspension systems, though rotary bushings are often incorporated into many machine applications that require precise machined parts. Sleeve bushings are also particularly helpful in controlling friction and wear in dynamically-loaded applications.

Difference Between Bearing and Bushing :-

The four easiest ways to differentiate bushings and bearings are as follows:

  1. Bearings are precision-machined components that allow machine components to move at extremely high speeds while reducing friction between moving parts. Bushings are independent, plain bearings used to support a shaft and operate with a sliding motion between the moving surfaces.
  2. Bearings are used in vehicle wheels, aircraft, shifts, pumps, power turbines, tools, and household appliances. Bushings are found in vehicle suspensions and any machine-related operations that require precision.
  3. Bearings are made of two or more components, while bushings are single, independent, one-part assemblies.
  4. A bearing is not a type of bushing, but a bushing is a type of plain bearing.

While bearings and bushings are nearly identical, it’s important to know when and how to use each before you purchase. At Aviation Store Online, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you find all types of bearings and bushings for the aerospace, civil aviation, and defense industries. We’re always available and ready to help you find all the parts and equipment you need, 24/7-365. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at sales@aviationstoreonline.com or call us at 1-505-365-1770. Our team of dedicated account managers is standing by and will respond to you in 15 minutes or less.


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