AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, and FAA AC 0056B ACCREDITED

Bearings: Their Components, Types, and Applications

As vital apparatuses in various mechanical systems, bearings facilitate smooth motion and reduce friction in a wide range of applications. From industrial machinery to aircraft engines, these devices play a crucial role in ensuring efficient operation and extending the lifespan of rotating parts. In this blog, we will delve into the basics of bearings by highlighting their components, types, and applications to ensure you can find what best suits your particular demands.

Understanding Bearings

By providing support and reducing friction, bearings enhance efficiency, reduce wear and tear, and improve overall performance in various mechanical systems. In particular, a majority of bearings consist of several key components that work together to facilitate unrestricted motion: an outer ring, inner ring, rolling elements, and cage. More specifically, the outer and inner rings create the raceways for the rolling elements to move along. From there, the rolling elements, such as balls or rollers, carry loads and transmit forces between the rings. Lastly, the cage holds the rolling elements in place and maintains their proper spacing.

Types of Bearings

There is a diverse variety of bearings available, each designed for specific applications and operating conditions, which are explored in greater detail below:

  • Plain Bearings: Also known as sleeve bearings or bushings, plain bearings consist of a cylindrical sleeve that provides a low-friction surface for the rotating shaft to slide against. Overall, they are suitable for light to moderate loads and are frequently seen in applications where simplicity and low cost are essential.

  • Rolling Bearings: Rolling bearings, or anti-friction bearings, incorporate rolling elements between their inner and outer rings to reduce friction. They can not only handle higher loads with better precision and reliability than plain bearings, but also come in various configurations, each with its own subtypes–such as ball bearings and roller bearings.

  • Radial Bearings: Radial bearings are fashioned to support radial loads perpendicular to the shaft's axis. This means that they are commonly used in conditions involving electric motors, pumps, and automotive wheels, where the primary load is often perpendicular to the rotating shaft.

  • Thrust Bearings: Thrust bearings handle axial loads parallel to the shaft's axis, as well as provide support, allowing smooth motion in applications that involve high axial loads. This includes automotive transmissions and machine tools.

  • Aviation Bearings: Aviation bearings are a title given to any bearings employed in aerospace applications where high-performance, reliability, and safety are crucial. For this reason, these bearings undergo stringent testing and meet strict aviation standards to ensure their stability in extreme conditions like high speeds, vibrations, and temperature variations.

Applications of Bearings

Bearings serve many applications in the automotive, aerospace, industrial machinery, and power generation industries, among others. Within these roles, they are used in engines, transmissions, pumps, turbines, conveyors, and many other rotating or sliding systems. Additionally, bearings are pertinent to aviation operations, where they are used in landing gear systems, aircraft engines, control systems, and a multitude of other critical components.


Overall, bearings are indispensable mechanical components that enable smooth and efficient motion in an array of applications. By reducing friction and supporting rotating or sliding parts, these devices enhance performance, increase reliability, and extend the lifespan of machinery and equipment. That said, if you happen to be in search of high-quality bearings or their related parts, there is no better source than NSN World. Here on our website, you can find a wealth of available parts and can easily request quotes for your comparisons on any items that capture your attention. With a widespread supply network and our market expertise, we are proud to offer some of the quickest lead times in the market and are always ready to find a solution fit to your deadline and specifications.


December 14, 2022

Recent Twitter Posts

Semiconductor's Certifications and Memberships
The only independent
distributor with a
  • All orders are fulfilled in the USA.
  • All shipments must comply with U.S.A export laws.
  • No exceptions.
Fallen Heroes Fund

"We proudly support the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund which aids United States Military personnel experiencing Invisible Wounds of War: Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Post Traumatic Stress (PTS). For additional information, please visit the website to help with their valiant efforts.”

Thank You for Visiting.

We Hope that You Will Visit Us Again the Next Time You Need NSN Parts and Make Us Your Strategic Purchasing Partner.

Request for Quote

We use cookies to ensure that we give you an amazing experience on our website. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it.