The main innovative aspect of this bearing design, where it departs from current art, is in that any two consecutive load bearing rollers in the bearing are kept from touching and rubbing against each other by an intermediary, spherical rolling element which functions as a separator for the rollers and which itself rolls on their respective surfaces, in grooves machined around their circumference. Which should reduce friction and wear in applications where radial loads are encountered.
The purpose of these grooves is to help retain the spherical separators, not permitting them to slide or roll off of the rollers during operation of the bearing. They are valleys cut transversely into each roller's surface along its circumference, towards its ends.
They have a circular cross-sectional profile and guide and retain the spheres as they roll on the rollers they keep apart. The joins between the surface of the valleys and the outer, cylindrical surface of the roller which they are cut out of is filleted appropriately.
Any two consecutive rollers are kept apart from each other by the spherical rolling element in between them, which rolls on both of their surfaces inside the respective valleys in said surfaces.
The spheres interspersed with the rollers and which keep them separated through rolling contact are positioned on the outside of the row of rollers, further out from the bearing centre than the rollers themselves.
The spherical separators are kept in position by rings which span the full circumference of the outside of the bearing and which themselves have a valley or groove cut out from their inward facing side, through which the spheres are guided to roll.
The retaining rings are themselves positioned further out from the center of the bearing than both the rollers and spherical separators they ride on as well. They constrain the spheres from the outside of the bearing, preventing them from moving further out from the bearing centre.
Conversely, the spherical rolling elements are constrained from moving closer towards the bearing's centre by the rollers they ride on themselves. And these, in turn, are constrained from moving closer towards the bearing's centre by the bearing's inner track and from moving further out by both bearing's outer track and the spherical separators as well. And, in turn, the retaining rings for the latter.
The outer diameter of the retaining rings is slightly smaller than the outer diameter of the outer track of the bearing, which rolls on the rollers themselves and should never touch the retaining rings. There's a small gap designed in between the outer track and the retaining rings.
Neither the spheres nor their retaining rings should come into contact with either the inner or outer tracks of the bearing. The latter two which should only ever come in contact with the rollers, which are the actual load bearing elements of the bearing.
Moreover, the retaining rings for the spherical separators spin in the opposite direction to that which the bearing's outer track moves in.