The mechanical model of a “Z” type double-decker ball bearing under the action of radial load is established in this paper on the basis of the Hertz contact theory. According to the security contact angle theory, the influences of inner and outer bearings' internal clearances on the bearing's static load carrying capacity, radial deformation, radial stiffness, and load distribution of balls are analyzed. This model is verified in both stationary and rotational loading experiments. Moreover, the simulation results show that the static load carrying capacity of Z type bearing is smaller than that of either inner bearing or outer bearing that is contributed to compose the Z type bearing. The static load carrying capacity of a Z type bearing reduces with the increase of the inner and outer bearings' internal clearance. These simulation results also indicate that the contact angle of the maximum loaded ball in the outer bearing easily exceeds its security contact angle compared with the inner bearing, which, as the main factor, may cause the Z type bearing to overload and to fail. In this sense, the investigated Z type bearings are unfit to apply to situations with heavy load, high speed, or high precision.

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