# Why does the taper on tapered-roller bearings help support axial loads?

My assumption is that the taper/conical shape helps separate pure axial/radial loads into a combined load.

For example, a pure axial load should also produce a radial load component in the conical/Timken style bearing.

Is this correct?

• friction at a larger radius means more torque from that friction. One of the concepts that went into jewel bearings.
– Abel
Dec 26, 2021 at 19:48

My understanding is that by tapered roller bearing you mean something like:

Figure: (source:Wikipedia)

Obviously the axial load is also converted into axial and radial load depending on the cone angle. essentially it operates in a similar manner to a wedge

However, these type of bearings have also (typically -- some may be differ) the characteristic that they can support loads only in one direction.

This is a characteristic because they usually are utilised in pairs in the X and O configuration

Figure source debearings)

• I think there is friction and normal components on the wedge.
– r13
Dec 26, 2021 at 21:25

Tempered rollers as you said combine two tasks.

• Center the shaft

• Take the axial load.

eg, a 45 degree tapered roller can take an axial load of 100kg if its design strength is 141kg.

Otherwise, two bearings would be needed. One to take the axial load and one to center the shaft.

'

Another interesting feature of tapered roller bearings, is the relationship between axial and radial clearances. Bearings life is usually maximum when there is a slight interference fit -- allowing the rollers to bounce around in a clearance would cause impact loads and thus more wear.

For some applications, this clearance is adjusted at installation or maintenance. Compared to purely radial bearings, the tapered roller bearings make it easier to make this adjustment, by using a screw of some type to fine-tune the axial distance between the inner and outer races of the bearing.

All images from: Timken Tapered Roller Bearing Catalog [PDF]