Solid Lubrication For Bearing Damping

Vibration is bad news for bearings. During vibration bearing internal components, balls and cages, rattle, leading to: excess noise, increased operating temperature and accelerated bearing failure. That means more downtime, more maintenance, and more replacements. These ultimately lead to more money out of your pocket.

The housing and insert of a mounted bearing have been cut away to show the internal elements of the bearing. Lines around the photo are meant to illustate vibrations.

What is Bearing Damping? 

Bearing damping is the process of absorbing energy to prevent transmission to the internal components. Dampers suppress vibrations in mechanical systems by dissipating energy. While there are specific devices that can be designed into an application, the integration of certain smaller components can also be helpful. Customized rubber feet, special mounting bases, and elastomeric couplings are all examples of components with damping properties that aid in the dissipation of vibratory energy.

Optimally, a bearing shouldn’t be exposed to vibration, but tracking down the source can be difficult. Abnormal or severe vibration can be caused by components that have not been properly installed, aligned, or balanced. Even when aligned, balanced and well-maintained, certain applications vibrate more than others.

Implementing solid lubrication is a great way to help protect your bearings. Solid lubricants dampen vibration in bearings by filling the empty space surrounding the rolling elements. Since all of the internal space of the bearing is filled with polymer, vibrations between the shaft and housing are minimized. 

It is important to note that solid lubricants help dampen vibration in the bearing itself, however they won’t cure your entire system of vibration. 

Polymer naturally absorbs some vibration while preventing internal components from rattling against each other. Solid lubricants keep the retainer in place preventing it from bouncing on the rolling elements.

The Housing and insert of a mounted bearing has been cut away to show the internals of the bearing. This bearing has a solid lubrication fill helping dampen vibrations.

Bearing grease, on the other hand, lacks solidity and therefore cannot prevent the rolling elements from rattling or banging into other internal components.

As you design your application, you can plan ahead for possible vibration in your application. To protect your mounted bearings from vibration damage you should properly balance and install all components. Beyond that, selecting a bearing with solid lubrication adds another layer of protection in vibratory applications.

Solid lubrication has the potential to extend bearing life because it can dampen vibration, as well as limiting the potential rattling of internal components. Consider choosing a bearing with factory-installed solid lube for your application to help reduce the damaging effects of vibration. This is just one of many benefits that solid lubrication has to offer!

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