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Application of Air Bearings

Application of Air Bearings

2022-08-31

Application of Air Bearings

Air bearing is a new type of bearing that uses air elastic potential energy to support. The only lubricant used is air; therefore, air bearing technology is ideal for workpieces or work environments that must be free of contamination.

In an air bearing, the balls are replaced by air cushions. Perhaps one of the most well-known applications of air bearings is in hovercraft.


Huge fans blow air beneath the hovercraft, preventing air from escaping through elastic rubber "skirts". The high air pressure created below the hovercraft supports the weight of the hull, thus causing it to float on the air cushion. 

The huge air cushion not only functions to support the weight of the hull, but also acts as a soft spring to make the hull float smoothly on rough land surfaces or water.

 

Since the 1950s, the application of gas bearings has become more and more extensive, and has been extensively and deeply studied. 

At present, gas bearings can be used in textile machinery, cable machinery, instrumentation machine tools, gyroscopes, high-speed centrifuges, dental drills, refrigerators operating at low temperatures, hydrogen expanders, and gas circulators operating at high temperatures.

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