Babbit bearings

What Is a Babbitt Bearing and Are All Babbitt Bearings the Same?

The Babbitt bearing or plain bearing is designed from soft, white, non-ferrous alloy and as a result, this type of bearing offers exceptionally low-friction operation and wear-resistance. Isaac Babbitt, born in 1799, was the man responsible for inventing the alloy that carries his name in 1839, and he received a patent for it. Babbitt’s original formula for this metal alloy consisted of 3,6% copper, 7,1% antimony and 89,3% tin. While Babbitt bearings do not all feature this exact formula anymore, you will still find the Babbitt alloy sold by a variety of manufacturers under the “ASTM B-23 Grade 2” designation and the label of “Genuine Babbitt”. These days a “Babbitt bearing” is typically a bearing that is made from any of several kinds of white metal.

The soft metal surface of a Babbitt bearing is deceptively strong. Small, hard crystals over a matrix of softer alloy is what gives this bearing surface its strength. When the bearing wears down, harder crystals are exposed, creating a durable surface that glides easily.

There are two main types of Babbitt bearings on the market that are the most common. These are tin-based and lead-based Babbitt bearings. For high-speed applications or inside machinery, equipment and applications where the lubrication of bearings is not always easy to achieve, tin-based Babbitt bearings are usually the best option. This type typically consists of 80% to 90% tin, 3% to 8% copper and 4% to 14% antimony. For heavy loads that require efficiency at lower speeds, lead-based Babbitts are the answer. Lead-based Babbitt bearings consist of 10% to 15% antimony, no more than 10% tin and the rest of the composition being lead. These bearings are typically softer than tin-based bearings and as such, cannot sustain high speeds when under a heavy load.

At Technoslide we supply, design and manufacture a wide range of Babbitt bearing options for various applications. We are able to handle large and recurring batch products or once-off productions. We can also custom-design and manufacture bearing solutions to suit your application or machinery if required. We are familiar with handling bearings with bores ranging from 25 mm to 1800 mm.

If you would like more information and advice on our range of bearings and our prices, we welcome you to get in touch with us. We are available via email and telephone and look forward to assisting you with acquiring just the right Babbitt bearing for your needs.