The feasibility of using hot-pressed silicon nitride (HPSN) for rolling elements and for races in ball bearings and roller bearings has been explored. HPSN offers opportunities to alleviate many current bearing problems including DN and fatigue life limitations, lubricant and cooling system deficiencies, and extreme environment demands. The history of ceramic bearings and the results of various element tests, bearing tests in rigs, and bearing tests in a turbine engine will be reviewed. The advantages and problems associated with the use of HPSN in rolling element bearings will be discussed.

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