Ball thrust bearings, sometimes referred to as aflat-race thrust bearings, are composed of ball bearings supported in aretainer ring and are held between two thrust washers. Thrust bearingsallow smooth rotation under high thrust loads at low and medium speeds.Whether the rolling element is a ball, needle or a roller, they aredesigned for pure thrust loads, and can handle little or no radialload. Complete thrust bearing assemblies usually include two thrustwashers and a ball retainer and typically come in standard and metricsizes, with custom sizes available.Depending on the conditionsin which you will use your thrust bearing, there are someconsiderations in choosing it's construction materials.The ballretainer can also be made of different materials, such as nylon ormetal. A nylon retainer offers several advantages over a metal one.Injection molded, heat stabilized nylon retainers are lightweight,provide a natural lubricity eliminating the need for lubrication. Valve PlateNylonretainers are corrosion resistant, provide quieter operation and a longservice life. Another important advantage is that nylon retainers areless expensive and make a great economical choice.The remainingcomponents, the ball bearings and thrust washers, should be chosen tomatch the application and environment in which they will operate.Typical material choices include stainless steel or hardened carbonsteel. Stainless steel works well in environments where moisture,corrosives may be present. They are widely used for food and beverageprocessing machinery, medical devices and a wide range of applicationswhere moisture may be present. A carbon steel thrust bearing withhardened steel components is a great choice for non-corrosiveenvironments.Combining the cost saving and performanceadvantages of a nylon ball retainer with the strength and durability ofsteel creates a new generation of economical high-performance thrustbearings. Typical applications include advertising signage, printingequipment, marine hardware, point of purchase displays, medicalinstruments, manual valves, and pharmacy automation.