Three decades of research by U.S. industry and government laboratories have produced a vast array of data related to the use of ceramic rolling-element bearings and bearing components for aircraft gas turbine engines. Materials such as alumina, silicon carbide, titanium carbide, silicon nitride, and a crystallized glass ceramic have been investigated. Rolling-element endurance tests and analysis of full-complement bearings have been performed. Materials and bearing design methods have improved continuously over the years. This paper reviews a wide range of data and analyses with emphasis on how early NASA contributions as well as more recent data can enable the engineer or metallurgist to determine just where ceramic bearings are most applicable for gas turbines.

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