# SOLIDWORKS SIMULATION: The Bearing Connector

Article by Irfan Zardadkhan, PhD, CSWE updated February 19, 2015

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You define a bearing connector between split cylindrical faces of a shaft and cylindrical or spherical faces of a housing. You can use a bearing connector when the housing is not much stiffer than the shaft.

To define a bearing between the shaft and the housing, right-click Connections in the Simulation study tree and select Bearing.

The exploded view shows a cylindrical split face of a shaft connected to a spherical face of the housing.

SolidWorks Simulation uses two methods for implementing the Bearing connector, depending on whether the bearing is Self Aligning or not. The Allow self-alignment specifies whether the Bearing connector allows an unrestricted off-axis shaft rotation. You can define radial and axial direction stiffness values for a self-aligning bearing.

No self-aligning

This is a standard non-self-aligning bearing, which would typically correspond to a roller or needle bearing. The Bearing connector is represented using radial springs distributed radially around the shaft which are projected from one surface of the shaft to the surface of the housing you have selected to define the bearing connector.

Self-aligning

A Self-aligning bearing allows off axis rotation of the shaft. This typically corresponds to a self-aligning ball bearing with two rows of balls and a common concave sphered raceway in the outer ring. It simulates a bearing insensitive to angular misalignments of the shaft relative to the housing, and which offers no resistance to a bending deformation of the shaft.

The Bearing connector is represented using a very short spring-like element that allows there to be a stiffness in the axial and lateral directions. The Spring-like element is connected by rigid bars to the entire surface of the shaft you have selected and to the entire surface of the bearing housing that you have selected.

Bearing Stiffness

When the bearing is set to be Rigid, a very high stiffness value is attributed to the many springs (when not self aligning) or the spring-like element (when self aligning).

When the bearing is set to be Flexible, the stiffness of the springs is adjusted so the overall behavior in translation (radial or axial translational stiffness) corresponds to the requested values.