Thrust bearings have rolling elements which primarily support the axial loads of rotating devices. Several styles of bearings are available in thrust configurations.
Whereas radial-load bearings locate ball or roller races on the opposing inner and outer bearing rings, most thrust bearings have raceways machined into the faces of mating rings. This arrangement supports a load that is parallel to the bearing axis, but offers little to no support for radial loads. Thrust bearings are also inadequate to handle moment loads.
Balls, cylindrical rollers, tapered rollers, spherical rollers and needle rollers are the most common rolling elements used for thrust applications. Cages/retainers are almost always utilized to maintain uniform roller loading and spacing. Although fluid bearings and magnetic bearings are also manufactured for thrust applications, these areas are better addressed on their respective pages, but are herein identified as applicable.