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The Ultimate Guide to Full Ceramic Bearings In Water Processing, Water Filtration and Liquid Handling (Part 1)

Bearings are essential mechanical components of machinery used in a variety of industries. A bearing’s purpose is to help facilitate desired motion, limit undesired movement, and reduce friction. Bearings are thought to date back as far as the ancient Egyptian era, when wooden bearings were used to assist with the movement of heavy objects. Since then, the concept has developed considerably; bearings now come in a variety of forms, and are made from many different types of materials.

Bearings are an essential component in the majority of mechanical designs and equipment. It is important to consider the most effective materials when designing industrial machinery, especially in applications where water, or other liquids are present. Many materials will be unable to overcome the challenges associated with operating in a wet or corrosive environment.

To overcome the challenges faced by industries involved in water processing, water filtration and liquid handling, full ceramic bearings should be used. This paper will outline the properties of full ceramic bearings, and enable you to determine whether they are the most appropriate type for your mechanical processes.

Comparing Full Ceramic Materials’ Properties

There are a number of ceramic materials that can be used to produce full ceramic bearings. While these share a number of properties, they also offer distinct characteristics, which will help you to determine the most suitable material for your machinery. Here’s a guide to the most common materials used to produce full ceramic bearings:


Zirconia Oxide (ZrO2) 

Zirconia Oxide was first used in the 1960s. It was used in space travel, creating a thermal barrier to enable space shuttles to enter the Earth’s atmosphere. It copes well with high temperatures, but doesn’t handle thermal shock resistance to the same extent as alternative ceramic materials, such as Silicon nitride. It’s best used in high temperature environments that involve minimal loads. It’s highly resistant to corrosion, which makes Zirconia Oxide the perfect choice for use with highly corrosive liquids. It’s an incredibly strong material, which also makes it ideal for use in mechanical applications involving fracture risk. ZrO2 has an operating temperature range of -85.C to 400.C

Silicon Nitride (Si3N4) 

Silicon Nitride is a ceramic material produced using a series of chemical reactions, creating a full ceramic material with distinctive properties. The material is dark in color, and is one of the most superior types of ceramic material in terms of quality and durability. This material is relatively expensive, but the extra cost is worthwhile if you’re looking for something that can withstand high temperatures and harsh mechanical conditions. In terms of withstanding high temperatures, silicon nitride is superior to alternative metallic solutions, and it has a lower thermal expansion coefficient than many alternative ceramic materials. This makes it an excellent choice when thermal shock resistance is a high priority. Si3N4 has an operating temperature range of -100.C to 900.C


Aluminum Oxide (Al203)

Aluminum Oxide is the most popular ceramic ball material, and its common uses expand far beyond the reams of ceramic bearings. It’s produced through the process of calcination of aluminum hydroxide, which creates a durable and highly resistance ceramic material. This material is best known for its high compression strength, and its ability to resist corrosion when faced with a variety of abrasive chemicals, even when the environment involves extremely high temperatures. Less expensive than some of the alternative ceramic materials, aluminum oxide is readily available and is the most popular choice ceramic bearing for projects in which the available budgets are limited.

Silicon Carbide (SiC)

Silicon Carbide is produced by chemically combining carbon and silicon atoms. It has excellent mechanic properties, which makes it a fantastic choice for use in the creation of bearings. Grains of silicon carbide have been used for many years as an abrasive, most commonly in the form of sandpaper. However, these grains can be combined through sintering to create the highly durable ceramic material used to create silicon carbide bearings. This is a strong, durable ceramic material with a low density, low rate of thermal expansion, and fantastic thermal shock resistance, making it suitable for use in a wide variety of applications.