This invention relates to a bearing retainer of a synthetic
resin, and more particularly, to a retainer which is suitable for use in a rolling
bearing for supporting a shaft rotating at a high speed at a high temperature, a
method of manufacturing the same, and a rolling bearing.
Brass, or special metals for aircraft (AMS 4616 or 6414)
have, for example, been used for making a retainer for a bearing used for supporting
a shaft rotating at a high speed at a high temperature, for example, the shaft of
a machine tool, or of a gas turbine for a supercharger, or power generator.
The retainers formed from metallic materials as mentioned
have, however, only a limited possibility of reduction in weight. There are known,
for example, a retainer formed from a material obtained by impregnating a cotton
cloth with a phenolic resin, and a retainer formed from a synthetic resin, such
as a thermosetting polyimide resin, as retainers of lighter weight.
The retainers formed by using a phenolic resin have, however,
been difficult to manufacture at a low cost on a mass-production basis because of
a great deal of labor and time required for their manufacture, as the thermosetting
property of the phenolic resin does not permit injection molding, and as a separate
job is required for making pockets.
The retainers of a thermosetting polyimide resin have also
been expensive to manufacture, since their manufacture also relies upon turning.
US 5,271,679 relates to a rolling element bearing comprising
an outer race, an inner race, balls and a retainer, holding said balls in an appropriately
spaced relation from one another, said retainer being a product of a mixture of
polytetrafluoroethylene, MoS2 or WS2, aramid fibers, and a
polyether ether ketone resin.
It is, therefore, an object of this invention to provide
a bearing retainer of a synthetic resin which is suitable for use in a situation
involving a high speed of rotation at a high temperature, and which can be manufactured
at a low cost.
It is another object of this invention to provide a bearing
retainer of a synthetic resin which can be manufactured easily by injection molding
without relying upon any separate job for the formation of pockets, and without
relying upon any turning job.
It is still another object of this invention to provide
a method which can manufacture a bearing retainer of a synthetic resin at a low
It is a further object of this invention to provide a rolling
bearing which includes a retainer of a synthetic resin as mentioned above, and is
suitable for use in a situation involving a high speed of rotation at a high temperature.
Disclosure of the Invention:
The bearing retainer of a synthetic resin according to
this invention is formed by injection molding from a material prepared by mixing
a thermoplastic resin and particles of a heat-resisting resin.
The bearing retainer according to this invention is preferably
formed from a material further including reinforcing fibers.
The thermoplastic resin is preferably selected from among
polyether ether ketone (PEEK), polyether ketone (PEK), polyether sulfone (PES),
polyether imide (PEI), polyamideimide (PAI), polyphenylene sulfide (PPS), polyallyl
ether nitrile (PEN) and a thermoplastic polyimide resin (TPI), and a mixture thereof,
while polybenzimidazole (PBI) is used as the heat-resisting resin.
A retainer of a thermoplastic resin can be made by injection
molding, but can withstand use only at a relatively low temperature. A retainer
of a heat-resisting resin can withstand use at a relatively high temperature, but
as it cannot be made by injection molding, there is no alternative but to rely upon
turning for making it despite its higher cost.
The retainer of this invention can be made by injection
molding owing to the thermoplastic resin which its material contains, though it
also contains the heat-resisting material, while it can withstand use at a high
temperature owing to the heat-resisting material.
If its material further contains reinforcing fibers, the
retainer is further improved in strength and heat resistance.
Brief Description of the Drawings:
Best Mode of Carrying Out the Invention:
- Figure 1 is a perspective view of a bearing retainer according to a first preferred
form of embodiment;
- Figure 2 is a transverse sectional view of a mold used for forming the retainer
shown in Figure 1;
- Figure 3 is a sectional view taken along the line (3)-(3) of Figure 2;
- Figure 4 is a longitudinal sectional view of an upper half of a rolling bearing
including the retainer of Figure 1;
- Figure 5 is a longitudinal sectional view of an upper half of a modified form
of rolling bearing including the retainer of Figure 1;
- Figure 6 is a perspective view of a bearing retainer according to a second preferred
form of embodiment;
- Figure 7 is a perspective view of a bearing retainer according to a third preferred
form of embodiment;
- Figure 8 is a perspective view of a bearing retainer according to a fourth preferred
form of embodiment;
- Figure 9 is a longitudinal sectional view of an upper half of a rolling bearing
including the retainer of Figure 8;
- Figure 10 is a perspective view of a bearing retainer according to a fifth preferred
form of embodiment;
- Figure 11 is a perspective view of a bearing retainer according to a sixth preferred
form of embodiment; and
- Figure 12 is a longitudinal sectional view of a part of a supercharger including
the rolling bearings as shown in Figure 4.
The invention will now be described in detail based on
its preferred forms of embodiment as shown in Figures 1 to 12.
One of its preferred forms of embodiment is shown in Figures
1 to 4, in which Figure 1 is a perspective view of a bearing retainer formed from
a synthetic resin, Figure 2 is a longitudinal sectional view of a mold used for
forming the retainer shown in Figure 1, Figure 3 is a sectional view taken along
the line (3)-(3) of Figure 2, and Figure 4 is a longitudinal sectional view of an
upper half of a rolling bearing including the retainer of Figure 1.
Description will first be made of the construction of the
rolling bearing in which the retainer of this invention is used. Referring to Figure
4, the rolling bearing A comprises an inner race 1, an outer race 2, a plurality
of balls as rolling element 3, and a retainer 4. The roller bearing A is an angular
ball bearing of the type in which the retainer 4 is guided by the inner surface
of the outer race 2.
The inner race 1 has a counterbore 5 formed in its outer
surface along one shoulder, while the outer race 2 has a counterbore 9 in its inner
surface along one shoulder on the opposite side of the balls from the counterbore
5. Each of the counterbores 5 and 9 is tapered from a protrusion defining a track
groove for the balls 3 in the inner race 1. The outer race 2 has its track groove
formed in its axially central portion. Figure 5 shows a modified form of bearing
in which only the inner race 1 has a counterbore 5.
The retainer 4 is formed from a synthetic resin, is of
the so-called counterbored type, and has a plurality of circumferentially equally
spaced apart and radially extending pockets 6 and an annular groove 7 formed in
the axially central portion of its outer periphery, as shown in Figure 1. The retainer
4 is made by injection molding in a mold comprising a plurality of portions D1 to
D4 as shown in Figures 2 and 3. A linear burr 8 (parting line) is formed on the
molded product between every two adjoining mold portions D4, and appears upon radial
removal of the mold portions D4. The retainer 4 is, therefore, so molded that the
linear burrs 8 may be formed on the bottom of the annular groove 7 each between
two adjoining pockets 6, as shown in Figure 1, so that no such burr may be formed
on the guide surface of the retainer 4 and scrape a lubricant off the inner surface
of the outer race 2.
The retainer 4 is injection molded from a material prepared
by mixing a thermoplastic resin and particles of a heat-resisting resin, or from
a material prepared by mixing a thermoplastic resin, particles of a heat-resisting
resin and reinforcing fibers.
The following is a further description of the materials.
At least one of polyether ether ketone (PEEK), polyether
ketone (PEK), polyether sulfone (PES), polyether imide (PEI), polyamideimide (PAI),
polyphenylene sulfide (PPS), polyallylethernitrile (PEN) and a thermoplastic polyimide
resin (TPI) is used as the thermoplastic resin.
Polybenzimidazole (PBI) is used as the heat-resisting resin.
Examples of the reinforcing fibers are carbon, glass, boron
and aramid fibers, whiskers, and fibers formed from other inorganic materials (such
as silicon oxide, carbide or nitride, or alumina), or organic materials (such as
polyethylene or polyallylate).
More specifically, it is possible to use a mixture consisting
of 35% (±2%) by weight of polyether ether ketone (PEEK) as the thermoplastic
resin, 35% by weight of polybenzimidazole (PBI) as the heat-resisting resin and
30% by weight of carbon fibers as the reinforcing fibers. Celazole TF-60C, product
of Hoechst-Celanese Corporation of U.S.A., can be used as polybenzimidazole (PBI).
The properties of Celazole TF-60C are shown in Table 1 below.
Coefficient of thermal expansion
Thermal deformation temperature
The materials as stated above are used in combination,
so that the retainer 4 can be used at a high temperature and a high speed of rotation,
and can also be manufactured at a low cost. For information, the retainer 4 as described
above can withstand continuous use at a temperature of, say, 200°C to 250°C,
and a short time of use at 300°C.
It is, however, preferable that the inner and outer races
1 and 2 and the balls 3 be also formed from high-carbon chromium bearing steel (such
as SUJ2 according to JIS), or a heat-resisting, or ceramic material as mentioned
below, so that the rolling bearing A can be used at a high temperature and a high
speed of rotation.
Examples of the heat-resisting materials are martensitic
stainless steel (such as SUS440C or SUS420C according to JIS), a heat- and corrosion-resistant
alloy (such as M-50 according to AISI or high-speed tool steel SKH4 according to
JIS), and heat-resisting bearing steel as shown in Japanese Patent Application Laid-Open
No. 3-253542, and they are subjected to appropriate hardening treatment (such as
quenching and tempering), if required. More specifically, the heat-resisting bearing
steel mentioned above contains 0.8 to 1.5% by weight of C, 0.5 to 2.0% by weight
of Si, 0.3 to 2.0% by weight of Mn, 1.3 to 2.1% by weight of Cr and 0.3 to 1.0%
by weight of Mo, Si and Mo making a total of at least 1.0% by weight, and the balance
of its composition being iron and unavoidable impurities.
Examples of the ceramics are a material consisting mainly
of silicon nitride (Si3N4) and containing yttria (Y2O3)
or alumina (Al2O3) as a sintering assistant, while it may
further contain aluminum nitride (AlN) or titanium dioxide (TiO2), and
a material prepared from alumina (Al2O3), silicon carbide
(SiC), zirconia (ZrO2) or aluminum nitride (AlN).
This invention is not limited to its forms of embodiment
as described above, but covers a variety of further modifications or variations.
Referring to the type of bearing, for example, the rolling bearing A, which has
been described as an angular ball bearing, is not limited thereto. It may alternatively
be, for example, another type of ball bearing, such as a deep-groove ball bearing,
or a cylindrical, needle, conical or spherical rolling bearing. The retainer 4 may
be shaped like a crown, as shown in Figure 6 or 7, depending on the type of bearing
in which it is employed.
Still another form of embodiment is shown in Figures 8
and 9. Figure 9 shows a rolling bearing having a pair of track grooves 15 and 16
formed in the outer surface of an inner race 11 and the inner surface of an outer
race 12, respectively, and slightly shifted from its axially central portion. Counterbores
17 and 18 are formed on the shoulder of the wider portion of the outer surface of
the inner race 11 and the shoulder of the narrower portion of the inner surface
of the outer race 12, respectively. The counterbores 17 and 18 are tapered from
protrusions holding balls 13 in the track grooves 15 and 16, respectively.
Figure 9 also shows a crown-shaped retainer 40 having an
annular body 41, a plurality of circumferentially spaced apart lugs 42 projecting
axially from the body 41 and a plurality of pockets 43 each defined between two
adjoining lugs 42 for holding a ball therein, as shown in Figure 8. The annular
body 41 is guided on the shoulder of the wider portion of the inner surface of the
outer race 12. Each lug 42 has an outer surface portion tapered toward its free
end so as not to contact the outer race 12 when it is bent radially outwardly of
the retainer by a centrifugal force resulting from its rotation. Every two adjoining
lugs 42 have between their free ends a distance W which is slightly smaller than
the diameter of the ball 13 to ensure that the ball 13 be held in the pocket 43,
while the lugs 42 are chamfered or beveled at their free ends so that the balls
13 may be easily fitted in the pockets 43. The pocket 43 has a flat inner surface.
The retainer 40 has a wall thickness and an axial width which depend on its desired
strength. The track grooves 15 and 16 are so shifted toward one side of the bearing
that the crown-shaped retainer 40 may not project from the inner and outer races
11 and 12.
Modified forms of the retainer 40 shown in Figure 9 are
shown in Figures 10 and 11. The retainer 50 or 60 has a plurality of lugs 52 or
62 having a thickness as measured radially of the retainer which is smaller than
the thickness of its annular body 51 or 61 as equally measured. The lugs 52 or 62
are correspondingly lighter in weight, and are less likely to be urged radially
outwardly of the retainer by a centrifugal force to cause the balls to interfere
with the inner surface of each of the pockets 53 and 63 and thereby affect the rotational
performance of the roller bearing adversely.
The rolling bearing A as described above can be used in,
for example, a supercharger for an automobile engine, a gas turbine, or a machine
tool. Figure 12 shows a supercharger in which two rolling bearings A as shown in
Figure 4 are employed. It has a housing 20 and a turbine shaft 21. A turbine wheel
22 is attached to one end of the turbine shaft 21, and a compressor wheel 23 to
its other end. The housing 20 has a through hole 24 in which the turbine shaft 21
is rotatably supported by the rolling bearings A and a sleeve 25.
Description will now be made of the manner in which the
rolling bearings A are incorporated in the supercharger. The inner race 1 of each
bearing A is intermediate fitted about the turbine shaft 21 and held axially in
position between a shoulder 26 on the shaft 21 and a spacer 27, while its outer
race 2 is clearance fitted in the sleeve 25 and held against a shoulder on its inner
surface, and a spacer is disposed between the outer races 2 of the two bearings
A. The two bearings are so positioned that the shoulders of the outer races 2 having
the counterbores 9 may face the turbine and compressor wheels 22 and 23, respectively.
Therefore, Figure 4 shows the bearing A facing the compressor wheel 23 in Figure
12. The outer races 2 are axially urged away from each other by a coil spring 28
and the spacer. Thus, the two rolling bearings A are held under a fixed pressure,
whereby the balls 3 of each bearing having a radial clearance are held at an angle
in contact with the inner and outer races 1 and 2. The radial clearance is so controlled
that the balls 3 may have a contact angle of, say, 15° ± 5°.
The sleeve 25 has an outside diameter which enables it
to be appropriately spaced apart from the wall of the through hole 24 in the housing
20. The sleeve 25 has a plurality of circumferentially extending grooves 29 formed
in its outer surface for defining as large a clearance between the sleeve 25 and
the wall of the hole 24. This clearance is supplied with a lubricant through a port
30 in the housing 20, and the lubricant acts as a damper for the vibration of the
turbine shaft 21. The sleeve 25 and spacer have small bores 31 through which the
lubricant is jetted against the roller bearings A. The lubricant is received in
the counterbores 5 of the inner races 1 and flows through the bearings A for lubricating
and cooling them.
The turbine shaft 21 is rotatable at a high speed not lower
than 100,000 rpm, and reaches a temperature as high as 200°C to 300°C
if the supercharger is continuously used. In spite of these severe conditions, the
rolling bearings A exhibit a high seizure resistance owing to the specially selected
materials of their components and support the turbine shaft 21 for rotation with
a high stability.
As the supercharger has a higher temperature on its turbine
side than on its compressor side, its durability can be further improved if the
bearing on its turbine side includes a retainer prepared by turning and having a
still higher heat resistance than the retainer 4 as described, while the retainer
4 is used in the bearing on the compressor side.