What Is An Air Bearing?

The air bearing is also known as an aerostatic or aerodynamic bearing. The bearing uses a thin film of pressurized gas to provide load bearing interface between the surfaces. The advantage of Hovair air bearing is precision positioning.

In aerodynamic bearing, air cushion is established by relative motion between static and moving parts.

air bearing

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Gas bearing is used in precision machine tools and high-speed machine.

Gas bearing types:

Gas lubricated bearing are classified into two categories based on the source of pressurization of the gas film:

  •    Aerostatic bearing
  •    Aerodynamic bearing

Aerostatic bearing: In Aerostatic bearing the gas is pressurized externally then it is injected in clearance of the bearing. It sustains load even in absence of relative motion. Here an external gas compression system is required to induce cost in term of complexity and energy.

Aerodynamic bearing: In Aerodynamic bearing the gas is pressurized via relative velocity between the static and moving surfaces in the bearing. These bearing are self-acting and do not require an external input of compressed gas.


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Another kind of air bearing is Hybrid bearing that is a combination of the above two type of bearing. Here the bearing is fed with externally compressed gas at low speed.

Gas bearing is also classified depending upon the kind of linkage:

Linear motion bearing: In this translation is supported between 1 or 2 direction between the planes.

Journal bearing: Here the rotation is supported between the two parts.

Thrust bearing: In this, the axial displacement is blocked between the rotating parts. It is further used in combination with journal bearing. You can also click here to know more.

The air bearing is used in a wide range of applications. It can be applied in testing equipment, high-speed, and accurate machine tool.