Bearings make the world go round. Bearings come in a variety of sizes and models. Generally, when I think of a bearing I think of a mechanical bearing, like those in my skateboard when I was younger. The skateboard bearing required weekly or monthly maintenance and eventually wore out because of friction or contamination build up. So what if a frictionless bearing was used? Linear air bearings can provide a zero static movement, thus making them more desirable.
Furthermore, linear air bearings or fluid bearings as they are sometimes called are becoming more popular in industry for multiple reasons. They are primarily becoming more popular for their lack of wear and tear because of their no contact ability. As well as, their ability to be more accurate in the jobs they are performing because of their self centering and error averaging capability. An easy way to visualize how a linear air bearing works is to think of how a puck glides over an air hockey table.
As I stated earlier, bearings come in all shapes and sizes, small and large. The most impressive linear air bearings are the miniature linear air bearings. Miniature linear air bearings act the same as any other linear air bearing, but on a smaller scale as indicated by the name “miniature.” In order for the linear air bearings to work properly a few things must happen in order to see the benefits in action. To create the frictionless state, the bearing gaps must be extremely tight (about 10 times tighter compared to liquid bearings). This ensures zero friction and high accuracy when the miniature linear air bearing is in motion. When the air or other gas such as nitrogen is forced into the bearing cavity the bearings are able to move in a free flow manner creating a smooth gliding motion without contact in the bearing casing or between each individual bearing.