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Magnetic bearing – how does it work?

Written by Liam Grant. Posted in Gadgets

Do you ever get curious how mechanical parts spin so smoothly inside machines? While friction has always been a problem for engineers, a few decades ago a device called magnetic bearing that eliminates friction and mechanical wear has started to be used with success in a series of applications. Bearing is currently an essential component of the machines we use in every known industry. The existence of these systems allows us to use machines for long periods of time without having to constantly change parts due to wear and tear. Bearing works after a simple concept: rolling is preferable to sliding, as it involves less friction. To better understand the concept, imagine that your car has skis instead of wheels, the results would be maddening. When two surfaces roll over each other, the friction or the opposite force is reduced considerably. While engineers and manufacturers work relentlessly to create more efficient, fast and durable machinery, perfecting bearing is one of the most important tasks they have at the moment. In the search for the perfect design, developers have managed to answer the stringent demand by creating active magnetic bearing of superior quality that requires minimum energy consumption. There are plenty of options and alternatives on the dedicated market, because the demand for these little machineries is very high. In fact, you can find perfected magnetic bearings for sale online and purchase them directly from manufacturers with a quick search on the Internet. [Not a valid template] If you require a bearing, the first thing you should do is determine what type of bearing you need. There are many type of bearing you can choose from and depending on your desires, machine requirements and budget, certain options are better than others. For instance, active magnetic bearing is currently the most popular choice, because it eliminates friction and mechanical wear completely, but the initial costs are very high. The most common type of bearing is ball bearing. They are everywhere including on your hard drive. The reason why ball bearings are so popular is easy to understand: they can support both thrust and radial loads. However, the load should be quite small for the ball bearing to be able to support it. A Roller bearing is similar to a ball bearing, but it can support heavier loads and has more industrial applications, while a ball or a roller thrust bearing is just like the name suggests a system that mainly supports thrust loads. Last but not least, tapered roller bearing is the system that supports very large radial and thrust loads.   This classification refers to the type of load each bearing supports, but another classification can differentiate between magnetic bearing that uses magnets to levitate the load and roller bearing. Magnetic bearing can also be divided into passive magnetic bearing and active magnetic bearing referring to the type of magnets used, the latter using electromagnets. Magnetic bearing is utilized for high speed machinery as for instance flywheel energy storage systems because this technology is fast, efficient, wear proof and  has a very low energy consumption.
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