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Talk about contaminants

Airborne contaminates can cause big problems for bearings. Contaminates can get caught up in the grease that often seeps out through the seal or shield. Bearing manufacturers come up with some pretty exotic seal designs to keep contaminates out of the bearing. A very common downside to these seal designs is very high drag. And it almost seems that contaminates are drawn to the bearing…that may in fact be true!

As a bearing rotates the balls “plow” through the grease causing turbulence within the bearing. This turbulence will in turn cause the rubber seals to move in and out slightly as if breathing. With shielded bearings, the turbulence is vented through the small space between the shield and the inner race. This “breathing” action can cause the smallest of airborne contaminates to be drawn toward the bearing and get” stuck” to the bearing where the grease has seeped through the seal or get sucked into the shielded bearing through the gap. Once caught onto the seal of the bearing it is just a matter of time before these contaminates get “wicked” into the bearing as the bearing rotates. From there, the contaminates act as abrasive fillers thickening the grease as they cause ware on the races and balls.

CSL fills that gap between the races for the width of the bearing. The turbulence caused by the balls “plowing” through the grease doesn’t exist anymore. In addition, with the standard CSL there is no “stickiness” to hold any contaminates that touch the bearing. That doesn’t mean contaminates can never get into the bearing, just that it is less likely since the contaminates have to be small enough to fit into the tiny gap between the CSL and the races. In most cases, any contaminates that happen to get into the bearing processed with CSL can by flushed out with solvents without compromising the lubricating properties of the CSL.
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