Steel ball bearings are tools that are used to allow for relative motion between two objects; they can be distinguished from other bearing varieties by their steel construction. Steel is valued as a bearing material over other materials because of its strength and durability.
Steel is valued because of its exceptional qualities of strength, so it follows that bearings, which are constantly subject to demanding burdens, should be made of steel when possible. There exists an extensive variety of industrial, commercial and consumer products, utilities and other things that involve moving parts in some way. Whenever moving parts are involved in a product, a friction reduction mechanism is necessary to allow for the desired degree of motion freedom. A bicycle wheel, for example, if simply mounted on an axle, would encounter more difficulty overcoming the friction at the point of contact between the axel if its contact with the axel were not mediated by a bearing. In instances in which heavy equipment components must move relative to each other, the bearing between them must be able to withstand the constant burden of the equipment as well as the stresses involved in motion. Steel ball bearings are often the bearing material of choice in such situations.
Steel ball bearings are spherical in shape and are situated in a track called a race. The race contains the bearings, and as one of the objects that rest on the bearing moves, the balls rotate, allowing for the near frictionless encounter between the borne object and the bearing. Steel ball bearings are used for many purposes, including in products like valve pumps, casters, drawers, appliance components, spray bottles, locking mechanisms, conveyors, roller skates and even nail polish bottles. Steel ball bearings are commonly used in commercial and industrial environments. They are small components placed in between moving parts and allow for smooth movement of pieces of equipment. Steel ball bearings ease the friction on machines and decrease wear. Without these components, moving parts would need frequent replacement. Steel is among the most common materials used to make ball bearings. Ceramic materials are also popular for the construction of ball bearings, though ceramic materials usually do not feature the same high qualities of strength as steel.