There are those items that we don’t think about, but without them, we would be unable to have the technology we enjoy. Ball bearings are one of those things. These tiny metal balls don’t seem like they would be as essential to our everyday lives as they are. Just a few of their many thousands of uses are demonstrated below.
1. Earthquake proofing – Ball bearings are being used in earthquake proofing building in San Francisco. Granted, they are giant ball bearings, but the idea is the same. By providing the ability for a concrete building to move with a quake instead of being locked in place, there will be less damage suffered. While further experiments with this technique of earthquake proofing are needed before it goes into widespread use, it has proven to be very effective in protecting property and limiting damage in the San Francisco area.
2. Wheels for skateboards, roller skates, and inline skates — Probably the most well-known use for ball bearings is in the wheels of skates and skateboards. Bearings provide the ability for the wheels to turn smoothly and quickly. As technology has changed, so has the application of ball bearings in these wheels. Different bearings can be matched with different wheel materials to make the wheels faster or able to perform more complex moves.