- Buyer's Guide
Plain bearings are available for an extremely wide variety of applications. Most are used in sliding or oscillating roles: door hinges, ball joints on cars, the fifth wheel on a tractor trailer. But when full rotation is required, plain bearings change shape to a "sleeve" that fits around the shaft. In addition to being called sleeve bearings, other names include plane, journal or babbitt bearings.
When power density is extremely high, as in power generation, heavy loads might result in permanent, plastic raceway deformation in a rolling element bearing - plain bearings may be a better choice. The API 610 Standard has guidance for the recommended use of plain bearings vs. rolling element bearings in industrial machines.