Cageless, Multilayered, Full Complement Radial Ball Bearing

The principal innovative aspect of this design is that even though the bearing is full complement and cageless, there is no sliding contact between consecutive or touching/neighbouring spherical rolling elements inside of it.

Nor are the spherical rolling elements inside of the bearing being kept apart by a single, common cage which they would all rub against rather than each other.

This is due to the use of more than just one row of rolling elements. More specifically, 3 inter-meshed layers of spheres are used: an inner and outer layer and an intermediary, separating layer – which acts as a sort of load bearing rolling cage and keeps consecutive rolling elements in the other two layers from touching each other.

It is necessary to use an odd number of layers of balls because if an even number of rows of spheres were used they would actually attempt to convey rotation from the bearing's inner race to its outer one (or the other way around), which would work against the purpose and role of the bearing of enabling easy, low friction (or other resistance) rotation of one shaft or other component in relation to another.

Using just two layers would mean that spinning the bearing would require and cause the rolling elements to actually travel in the opposite direction at a proportionally impractically high rate of speed.

Because of this the bearing has to have an odd number of layers of balls. And using just one row of rolling elements would have been no different than regular bearings in ubiquitous use today, which exhibit sliding contact either between consecutive rolling elements or between these and a non-load bearing cage which keeps them separated.

The way the bearing is designed, the middle layer of spheres separates and prevents sliding contact between any two consecutive balls in either the 1st and 3rd/last layer, acting as a sort of rolling cage analogous to the sliding cage in a regular ball bearing, which has just one row of spheres.

Reciprocally, consecutive rolling elements in the middle layer are themselves kept apart by balls in the inner (1st) and outer (3rd) layers.

The purpose of the 'rolling cage' middle layer isn't just to keep consecutive rolling elements in the other two rows separate. It is also load bearing, as it conveys the load the bearing is supporting from its inner layer of spheres to its outer one.

Other envisaged and expected benefits of this bearing concept are that it should automatically and inherently accommodate rolling elements of slightly different radii occurring as a result of manufacturing tolerances, should inherently and implicitly balance load evenly across its rolling elements (despite possible unevenness in ball diameter as a result of manufacturing tolerances) and (I believe) it should also be self-centring.


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  • Name:
    Laurentiu Victor Visan
  • Type of entry:
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  • Laurentiu Victor is inspired by:
    Wanting to do what is in my power to try and make the world a better place by contributing to technological development and improvement in whichever area and by whichever amount I am capable of.
  • Software used for this entry:
    Autodesk 123D Design
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