What Is an Air Bearing?
An air bearing is a non-contact, frictionless bearing system that uses a thin layer of pressurized gas. The air acts as the lubricant, creating an evenly distributed gas film between the surface and the substrate. The result? No friction, no maintenance, ultra-precision, and clean motion with higher stiffness.
Air bearings, also known as air cushions or air casters, are mechanical devices that use pressurized gas (usually air) to create a frictionless surface for motion. These devices are often used in industries such as manufacturing, transportation, metrology, and more, where precision, ease of movement, and low friction are important.
Air bearings are commonly used in precision manufacturing processes such as grinding, milling, and turning, due to their ability to provide low friction and high accuracy. They are also used in some forms of transportation, such as maglev trains and aircraft landing gear systems, to provide a smooth and efficient ride.
In addition, air bearings are used in scientific research for applications such as precision measurement, testing, and experimentation. They provide a stable, low-friction platform for a wide range of research purposes.
Other applications for air bearings include automotive, automation, turbo machinery, robotics, semiconductor manufacturing, and medical equipment.
Why You Should Consider OAV Air Bearings
OAV Air Bearing technology generates an evenly distributed film of gas between the surface and the substrate. Due to low gas viscosity, there is no friction losses by viscous shearing, and mechanical contact is avoided. There is no contact between the surface, and a no slip-stick phenomenon.
The coefficient of friction for an air bearing is determined by the movement of the air rather than by the contact between the surfaces. Therefore, in zero velocity, there would be no friction, potentially allowing for theoretically infinite motion resolution.
OAV Air Bearings are designed to have no friction and an indefinite lifespan. The coefficient of friction for these bearings is a measure of the resistance to motion between the surface and the substrate when an air film is present. This coefficient is typically a very low value, ranging from 0.001 to 0.01, depending on the specific design and operating conditions of the air bearing.
Air bearings are contaminant-free. Clean environments generate virtually no particulates that can become airborne. Thus, they are ideal for many cleanroom applications.
OAV Air Bearings have high speed nano-precision, superior position accuracy and repeatability, and no heat generation at high speeds.