This bearing design is meant to reduce, as much as possible, sliding contact between load bearing rolling elements inside an axial bearing. It's designed to do this by employing spherical rolling elements which are stacked in three intermeshed, interspersed layers of balls such that no two consecutive or neighbouring spheres in the same layer or row ever come into direct contact with each other but instead only have indirect contact, mediated by a 3rd rolling element in one or two of the other layers of spherical rolling elements, depending on which of the three layers we are considering.
Thus the bearing has an inner and an outer layer of spherical rolling elements, wherein balls are arranged in pairs, and a third, intermediary row of rolling elements, which separates the other two but also conveys load between them. This latter layer of balls has half as many spherical rolling elements as either of the other two and does not come into contact with the bearing shell.
The space inside of the bearing shell through which the rolling elements roll and revolve has the cross-sectional shape of a trapezoid with rounded or filleted corners. The radius of the fillets is slightly larger than the radius of the spherical rolling elements. Only the balls in the inner and outer layers come in contact with the bearing shell, rolling along inside of the filleted corners of the trapezoidal profiled cavity.
The spheres in the inner and outer layers (radially speaking) of rollers are situated such that they are collinear with the centre of the bearing.
This bearing design is very similar to my 'Cageless, Multilayered, Full Complement Radial Ball Bearing' bearing concept but this design is intended for axially laden applications.
As such, there are two important differences between that design and this one.
1. This bearing's races are separated by a planar cut perpendicular to the bearing's shaft axis, rather than by a circular/cylindrical cut concentric with that axis.
Consequently, the bearing shell's two halves are fully symmetrical to each another, as opposed to being concentric – with one smaller than the other and situated inside the larger one.
2. Although all of the bearing's spherical rolling elements have the same radius, in this particular design, the spheres in the inner layer are grouped closed together both along the bearing's circumference and axially, along the bearing's shaft axis. Rather than just being packed closer together along the circumference only.
Conversely, the spheres in the outer layer are spaced further apart, both along the bearing's circumference and axially as well. Again, as opposed to only being packed looser along the circumference and not axially as well.
Thus, the spheres in the inside and outside layers are positioned such that they would be tangent to the surfaces of two cones which are themselves concentric with the bearing, opposed at the tip to each other and whose tips touch at the bearing's centre of symmetry.