When is a washer more than a washer? When it’s a bronze thrust washer. Bronze thrust washers serve much more of a purpose than simply as spacer. Bronze thrust washers are commonly called thrust bearings due to their ability to transmit and resolve axial forces in rotating mechanisms.
While sleeve bearings perform the duty of handling radial loads, there is no such way for them to handle axial or thrust loads. Whenever a mechanisms primary movement has both radial and axial forces to contend with thrust washers can be used. In their simplest form, thrust washers are long wearing flat bearings in the shape of a washer.
The need to understand the load factor of a thrust washer is just as critical as it is for a sleeve bearing. The formula for calculating the PV factor of a sleeve bearing is widely known, while the same formula for a thrust washer is not as well understood. In order to assist with thrust washer design we have published the formula for thrust washers below.
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