About Babbitt Bearings

Isaac Babbitt an American Inventor

was born in Taunton, Mass., July 26 1799. Early in life he was apprenticed to a goldsmith, and became interested in the productions of alloys, He experimented with the manufacture and commenced to market the first Britannia that was ever produced in the United States. (Britannia is a white alloy of tin with copper, antimony, and sometimes bismuth and zinc. It is used in the manufacture of tableware. Also called Britannia metal.) In partnership with William Crossman he built a factory in Taunton, Mass. In 1827. When business declined a few years later, they sold out to their apprentices and Babbitt went to work in Boston as superintendent of the South Boston Iron Works, also known as Cyrus Alger's Foundry. There he produced the first brass cannon ever cast in the United States. In 1839 he obtained a patent on a journal box of his design, which included the formula for a soft alloy to be used as a bearing metal for lining the boxes of axles. This Latter relatively incidental detail proved to be the most valuable element of his invention, and is still used and referred to as Babbitt's metal.

Possible Causes of Bearing Failure

Wiping (the most common) includes:

  • Misalignment
  • Tight clearances
  • Starting problems
  • Elastic and thermal distortions
  • Overload
  • Instability
  • Shocks
  • Improper assembly
  • Wrong load angle
  • Oil starvation
  • Abrasion
  • Bond Failure
  • Cavitation Erosion
  • Corrosion
  • Electrical Pitting
  • Fatigue
  • Fretting
  • Non-homogeneity
  • Overheating
  • Seizure
  • Surface Wear

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