A thrust bearing is a particular type of rotary rolling-element bearing. Like other bearings they permit rotation between parts, but they are designed to support a predominately axial load.
Thrust bearings come in several varieties.
Cylindrical roller thrust bearings (THCRB) are suitable for arrangements that need to support a heavy axial load and no radial load. They are relatively insensitive to shock loads, are very stiff and require little axial space. Due to these attributes THCRB are often used in the differential. The bearings are of separable design; the components can be mounted separately.
Tapered roller thrust bearings enable axially very compact bearing arrangements to be produced which can carry very heavy axial loads, are insensitive to shock loads and are stiff. There are single direction tapered roller thrust bearings and double direction tapered roller thrust bearings.
Needle roller thrust bearings features steel needle and range width from 2mm to 5mm. The very small diameter deviation of the rollers within one assembly enables these bearings to accommodate heavy axial loads and shock loads. Needle roller thrust bearings provide a high degree of stiffness within a minimum axial space. In applications where the faces of adjacent machine components can serve as raceways, needle roller thrust bearings take up no more space than a conventional thrust washer.
Spherical roller thrust bearings use asymmetrical rollers of spherical shape, rolling inside a house washer with a raceway with spherical inner shape. They can accommodate combined radial and axial loads and also accommodate misalignment of the shafts. They are often used together with radial spherical roller bearings. Spherical roller thrust bearings offer the highest load rating density of all thrust bearings.