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One of the two types of rolling, or antifriction, bearings (the other is the roller bearing). Its function is to connect two machine members that move relative to one another so that the frictional resistance to motion is minimal. In many applications, one of the members is a rotating shaft and the other a fixed housing. Each ball bearing has three main parts: two grooved, ringlike races and a number of balls. The balls fill the space between the two races and roll with negligible friction in the grooves. The balls may be loosely restrained and separated by means of a retainer or cage.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on ball bearing, visit Britannica.com.