Balls and sphere shapes are used in products that require a spherical component. Examples include bearings, ball screws, valves, flow meters, and gages. Balls and sphere shapes are made from materials such as glass, metals, plastics, and ceramics.
Materials and Types
Ceramic balls and sphere shapes are made of inorganic, non-metal compounds that include oxygen, carbon, or nitrogen. Examples include aluminum oxide, silicon carbide, silicon nitride, and zirconium oxide ceramics. These materials have high melting points, excellent wear resistance, and provide oxidation and corrosion resistance. The brittle nature and lower thermal shock resistance of certain ceramics can be a drawback in some applications.
Silicate-based glass materials for balls and sphere shapes have an irregular, liquid-like (non-crystalline) molecular structure. Heating these materials at an adequate temperature produces a fused melt. Glass balls and sphere shapes maintain exceptional corrosion resistance and dimensional stability that can tolerate temperatures up to 600 F. Glass balls and sphere shapes are used in check valves, rotometers, flowmeter aircraft instrumentation, and process equipment applications.
Metals and Metal Alloys
Metals and alloys can be heat-treated or tempered to produce balls and sphere shapes. Steel and stainless steel balls are often used in bearing and check valve applications. Balls and sphere shapes that are ground from specialty or proprietary metals are useful in applications where high corrosion and heat resistance is required. Examples include chemical, paper, textile, food, and pharmaceutical applications that require non-ferrous balls and sphere shapes. Hollow aluminum and stainless steel balls and sphere shapes are used for float applications in chemical fluid systems. They are also used to reduce component weight in aircraft valve applications and as anodes in plating processes.
Plastic and Rubber
Plastic, rubber, and elastomer balls and sphere shapes are made of organic, synthetic, or processed polymers that are supplied as raw materials or stock shapes. They typically consist of thermoplastic or thermosetting resins that are easily shaped. While most plastics and elastomers are corrosion resistant, they are softer and limited in heat resistance compared to metals, ceramics, glasses, or carbides. Plastics and elastomers maintain good electrical insulation and self-lubricating properties depending on fillers and chemistry. Plastic balls and sphere shapes are useful in light load-bearing, check valve, flow control, and flowmeter applications. Rubber balls and sphere shapes are highly resilient and flexible. They are useful in screen deblinding, cabinetry (eliminating chatter or vibration), mounting, and check valve (quiet or low-noise sealing) applications.
Related Products & Services
Ball bearings are used to provide smooth, low friction motion in rotary applications. Ball bearings types include radial ball bearings (deep groove and angular contact) and thrust ball bearings.
Ceramic balls are spherical, rolling elements that provide higher stiffness, lower thermal expansion, lighter weight, increased corrosion resistance, and higher electrical resistance than steel balls. They are made from a variety of ceramic materials.
Metal balls are rolling, spherical elements that exhibit greater strength and toughness than plastic and ceramic balls. They have a sufficient hardness for many industrial ball applications, and most products are electrically conductive. Some steel, nickel, and cobalt balls can be magnetized. Metal balls made from certain alloys can also provide corrosion resistance and refractory resistance.