Bearing Creep: What You Need to Know

Bearing by Monroe Engineering

When using bearings to protect moving parts from friction-related damage, you should be conscious of creep. Bearings can fail. One of the most common forms of bearing failure is creep. If left unchecked, it can shorten the lifespan of bearings while also damaging the machines or parts with which they are used.

What Is Creep?

Creep is a phenomenon in which the surfaces of a bearing begin to slip. Bearings have multiple surfaces, such as an inner ring and an outer ring. When either of these surfaces slip, creep will occur.

On a typical ball bearing, the inner ring is the rotating element that’s exposed to the shaft. The outer ring, on the other hand, is the larger ring that sits on the opposite side of the balls. The outer ring won’t touch the shaft. Regardless, creep involves the slippage of either the inner ring or the outer ring.

The Impact of Creep

Turning a blind eye to creep is a serious mistake. Bearings are used to reduce friction and limit the motion of moving parts. They are commonly found in machines and other commercial equipment. If a bearing fails, the machine or equipment may fail as well. And while bearings are relatively inexpensive, the same can’t be said for machines and equipment.

Tips to Prevent Creep

You can prevent creep from occurring by choosing high-quality bearings. High-quality bearings are constructed of premium materials and expert craftsmanship. As a result, they are less likely to fail than low-quality bearings. You can expect to pay more for high-quality bearings, but they are worth the investment.

Lubrication can protect bearings from creep as well. Applying a small amount of lubricant to a bearing’s rings will lower the risk of creep. The rings will be exposed to less physical stress when lubricated, resulting in a lower risk of creep.

In addition to choosing high-quality bearings, you should get the right size. Bearings must have a tight fit around the shafts on which they are installed. If a bearing is too big for a shaft, it may sit somewhat loosely around the shaft. To avoid creep, make sure the bearings are an appropriate size.

In Conclusion

Bearings can fail in different ways. If the inner or outer ring slips, a bearing will succumb to a phenomenon known as creep. You can prevent creep by choosing high-quality bearings in the right sizes as well as applying lubricant to them.

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