Infinitesimal bearing

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This article defines a novel term (that is hopefully sensibly chosen). The term is introduced to make a concept more concrete and understand its interrelationship with other topics related to atomically precise manufacturing. For details go to the page: Neologism.

With the availability of Advanced atomically precise technology (APM) it no longer makes sense to build conventional roller-bearings in which macroscopic speed differences meet at nanoscale contacts.

Instead advanced APM technology allows to build a new type of macroscopic bearings that spreads macroscopic speed differences over many layers (a passive mechanical metamaterial) such that at nanoscale contacts only nanoscale-typical speed differences remain. Paired with the flawless gemstone surfaces of crystolecule gears those metamaterial bearings become for all practical purposes wear free.

A small demo stack of building blocks for a relative speed distributing metamaterial.
From classic to infinitesimal bearings. More layers reduce the relative speed differences. The result has lower friction and higher damage tolerance.
Different configrations (end to end connections) of infinitesimal bearing metamaterial can produce different types of bearings


To reduce the relative speed of two surfaces one can stack many layers with minimal thickness onto each other. Each of those layers is imperceptibly small - thus the "infinitesimal" in the name. The layers are just thick enough to accommodate the necessary nano-mechanics. These nanomechanics are crystolecule gears (not roller bearings) and further structure that makes sure that every layer takes the same part of the total speed difference. Note that due to superlubrication a single layer can take well perceivable macroscopic speeds without being destroyed thus bearings replacing today's macroscopic ones will need to use only a very thin stack of infinitesimal bearing layers (often the whole layer stack might be less than 32µm thick and thus as good as imperceptible by eye). Since there's no static friction and very low speed dependent dynamic friction in diamondoid nanomechanics (see superlubrication) the bearings efficiency can be expected to be exceptional.

It is still to investigate how a macroscopic infinitesimal bearing will perform relative to nanoscopic DMME bearing and for a more intuitive feel for the performance how long an infinitesimal brearing of certain size would turn till it e.g. reaches half its initial speed.

As in all products of advanced nanosystems the nanomechanics must (through their structure) provide some redundancy to cope with radiation damage. This makes the design of a bearing metamaterial more complicated
(TODO: Add a more detailed Model)

(TODO: Design and testprint a macroscopic model structure for demonstration.)

Cheating on a scaling law

When the total speed difference that the bearing is supporting is kept constant the power dissipation per volume scales with size:

  • linearly with mono-layer sleeve bearings (note that here the whole power dissipation is concentrated on a single layer in the considered volume)
  • quadratic with infinitesimal bearings

(wiki-TODO: Add the math in detail.)

Scaling only one dimension (bearing thickness)

Doubling the number of layers

  • halves the speed which quaters the dynamic friction (P ~ v2) (v->v/2 => P->P/4)
  • doubles the surface area which doubles friction (P ~ A) (A->2A => P-> 2P)
  • thus in combination it halves friction (v->v/2 && A->2A => P->P/2)

Related AP metamaterials

Adding chemomechanical or electromechanical motors into the layers changes it into an interfacial drive (an active metamaterial). There the add-up of layer movement acts as one of the methods to accumulate nano motion to macroscopic levels (Convergent mechanical actuation).


Infinitesimal bearings enforce a fixes speed relationship between layers. Thus they can can be used for mechanical advantage (a transmission).

Depending on the deformation and closing topology of the bearing layers with nanoscale thickness various kinds of bearings can be made:

  • normal radial bearings
  • axial thrust bearings
  • conical bearings
  • linear prismatic sliding bearings
  • heavily deformed bearings (gemstone nano-layers are highly flexible)
  • ...


Atomically precise bearings:

Alternate names:

  • infinitesimal bearing
  • stratified shear bearing
  • stratified shearing bearing
  • stratified shear-roll bearing
  • multi layer speed gradient bearing

External links