Ball Bearings that Keep the World Going Round

BearingIt's easy to forget just how useful the little ball bearing is. Bearing technology was first invented by the ancient Egyptians, and since then has permeated nearly every aspect of engineering. Don't be deceived by the simplicity of the ball bearing; the technology isn't complex, but without it our world wouldn't function. Below is a list of some of the most crucial uses of ball-bearings which keeps contemporary society up and running.

Aeroplanes:

The invention of the aeroplane has had a monumental impact on the world completely changing our relationship with distance and time. What was once impossible (and most likely unthinkable) is now such a normal fact of life that air travel is considered to be relatively mundane. Few of us genuinely marvel at the fact that we can get literally from one side of the planet to the other in a matter of hours when we're waiting to board or having to take our shoes off going through security, but without air travel our lives would be radically different. Ball bearings play their part in the wheels of the plane which are absolutely essential for landing. They are also used in aircraft toilets and in the online entertainment systems and in aircraft computers, making them completely essential for safe air travel.

Laptops and hard drives:

A lot of people aren't aware that miniature ball bearings are used in their laptops and hard drives. The fan which keeps your laptop cool and stops it from overheating is reliant on ball bearings. Ball bearings are also essential in any hard drives you own making up parts of the two electric motors which sit inside hard drives.

Earthquake Proof Buildings:

Earthquake proofing technology allows us to safeguard buildings in earthquake areas and build up metropolises without fear of devastation from natural disaster. It has radically altered architectural possibilities and most likely saved countless lives. The San Francisco International Airport uses giant roller bearings to safeguard it from earthquake activity. Have a look here for in-depth details.

Medical and Dental Equipment:

A lot of surgical instruments and dental equipment rely on ball bearings to work, especially hand pieces which are designed to be quiet and user friendly.   Without such essential equipment surgeons and dentists wouldn't be able to carry out some of the most complex medical procedures and checks that they now do on a daily basis.

These are just a handful of uses for the ball bearing, but the list really is endless. Few people realise that ball bearings are in nearly every piece of technology, not matter how simple it may seem, that we use.

+Clive Simkins