Ball and socket joints

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Technique: Ball and socket joints
Designer: Timothy Schmidt
Date: 2013
Tools: Wrenches
Parts: Frames, Plates, Bolts, Nuts, Ball hitches

Introduction

In an automobile, ball joints are spherical bearings that connect the control arms to the steering knuckles, and are used on virtually every automobile made. They bionically resemble the ball-and-socket joints found in most tetrapod animals.

A ball joint consists of a bearing stud and socket enclosed in a casing; all these parts are made of steel. The bearing stud is tapered and threaded, and fits into a tapered hole in the steering knuckle. A protective encasing prevents dirt from getting into the joint assembly. Usually, this is a rubber-like boot that allows movement and expansion of lubricant. Motion-control ball joints tend to be retained with an internal spring, which helps to prevent vibration problems in the linkage.

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