Three-Dimensional Roller Element Bearing (GSC-13679)
Developed by Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), this bearing technology combines the benefits of single row bearings - lightweight, low parts count, small size, and high load carrying - with the ability of tandem or double-row bearings to carry any combination of radial and axial loads. The selection of conventional rolling element bearings is based on factors such as load, space, life, and cost. Bearings such as tapered roller and angular contact ball enable load carrying in one axial and all radial direction. A pair of such bearings can be used to carry loads in both axial and all radial directions. A double-row bearing can carry the same load with fewer parts while occupying less space. NASA developed the three-dimensional roller element bearing to further reduce bearing size and parts count while enhancing load carrying, cost, and life factors. This bearing technology is based on novel rolling elements, each of which has four or more points of contact with the races. The geometry enables NASA's single-row bearing to carry loads in both axial and all radial directions. This design requires fewer parts and occupies less axial and radial space than a double-row bearing. Load capacity is increased over the equivalent-sized ball bearing due to the relatively large contact radii of the three-dimensional rolling elements. The optional retainer system for NASA's bearing is simple due to the inherent caging capability of the race geometry. Filling slot requirements are similar to those of conventional bearings.
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