Ceramic Ball Bearings

Ceramic bearings offer a significant performance improvement from traditional steel ball bearings. The ceramic bearings that we offer at IBSCO are manufactured from silicon nitride (Si3N4), an exceptionally hard non-metallic material rated for speeds to 2 million dN, offering a wide selection of benefits. The difference between ceramic bearings and steel ball bearings is within the balls, which are made of silicon nitride, which is referred to as ceramic.

The most common ceramic ball bearing is known as a ceramic hybrid ball bearing, which features inner and outer rings made of steel (which is why they are referred to as ceramic hybrid bearings). The specific density of the ceramic ball in these bearings is less than half of a steel ball, therefore reducing the centrifugal forces. Ceramic hybrid bearings generally run faster, maintain a cool temperature while operating and reduce vibration and noise.

A lighter weight option than steel ball bearings, ceramic bearings are also more rigid and corrosion resistant with lower coefficients and higher RPM capability.


Ceramic Ball Bearings

Advantages of Ceramic Ball Bearings

Ceramic ball bearings have many benefits for certain applications when compared to steel and other bearing materials. Below is a summary of benefits.

♦ High speed, faster acceleration comes from a material only 40% as dense as steel, yet strong enough to deliver 30-50% higher running speeds with reduced skidding and a lower volume of lubrication

♦ Lighter in weight ...ceramic ball bearings are more rigid and compared to steel ball bearings are lighter in weight, allowing for lower coefficients and higher overall rotations per minute (RPMs).

♦ Greater accuracy is the result of balls with a 50% higher modulus of elasticity than steel. This greater rigidity means less of the deformation that leads to vibration and spindle deflection, thus increasing both component quality and productivity

♦ Reduced friction leads to a host of benefits: longer life, less lubrication, energy efficiency, reduced sound levels and less heat

♦ Non-conductive properties of a nonmetal like silicon nitride eliminate the pitting and fluting of raceways common in electric motor applications. With steel bearings, electricity and magnetic fields can be created and act as a conductor damaging the bearing over time. Ceramic bearings are immune to this and are fine in environments where electricity is present.

♦ Corrosion resistance of silicon nitride makes it more effective than steel bearing balls in the presence of water or corrosive chemicals. Corrosion resistance can be enhanced when ceramic balls are combined with a dry film lubricant on the ring and retainer components

♦ Longer operating life ...5 to 10 times longer than standard metal bearings

♦ Higher temperature operation ceramic ball bearings can operate in high temperatures (can be up to 1,800 °F)

♦ Less noise and vibration due to a lower coefficient of friction

Compared to traditional steel bearings, ceramic bearings hold up better against corrosive elements such as water and salt. Their cooler operating temperature also allows them to improve the life of the lubrication, meaning their operating life should be longer.


Based on the performance of ceramic ball bearing over steel, hybrid ceramic bearings are used in many applications that require high speeds, accuracy and reduced friction and more. Common applications include machine tool spindles, aircraft instrumentation, micro turbines in the power generation industry, medical handpieces and more. Furthermore, due to non-conductive characteristics ceramic ball bearings can be used in electrical applications.

Quality bearings, fast

At IBSCO, we offer a large inventory of quality, ceramic bearings that we can ship faster than manufacturers themselves-- often within a week. We also offer inventory management services and JIT capabilities that help ensure our customers will never be waiting for the right high-performing ceramic bearings they need.

We also offer an unmatched commitment to quality. We are an ISO 9001:2008 certified supplier, and we maintain lot traceability for all ceramic bearings.

IBSCO: Ball bearing experts

Looking to put ceramic bearing advantages to work on a new or retrofit project? Make an IBSCO bearing specialist your first call. Our industry pros will help you find the right ceramic product for the application, choosing from a broad selection of in-stock and accessible components from the bearing industry's leading manufacturers.