Bearings are designed to limit friction between moving parts. The rings and balls of these bearings are machined to fine tolerances and high levels of roundness to assist in the reduction of friction. Due to this specific design, turning resistance of bearings can be extremely low.
Unlubricated “dry” bearings have the lowest turning resistance but they should be stainless steel so they do not rust without a protective coating of oil. Unlubricated bearings are not suitable for all applications. Stainless steel bearings should be lubricated unless speeds are very low. For low friction applications, a very light instrument oil or small amount of low torque grease should be considered.
Ceramic bearings are a good option for low torque applications. The material has a low coefficient of friction so these bearings can be used without lubrication. As a result, ceramic ball bearings are well-known for providing low levels of resistance and low frictional torque.
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