CT3B ball bearing technology results in several important performance improvements compared to a conventional sleeve bearing systems. One important advantage is that the CT3B model turbocharger can carry both axial and radial loads so that the need for a conventional thrust bearing is eliminated. The power loss attributed to a conventional thrust bearing is proportional to the fourth power of the radius and can amount to several horsepower at the high speeds at which turbochargers operate. The CT3B is capable of carrying both high thrust loads and radial loads at the same time and usually absorb only fractions of a HP due to the anti friction characteristics.
Conventional Floating sleeve bearings have an inner and outer oil film fed by lube oil under pressure from the engine lubricating system. These oil films have significant viscosity and produce significant friction losses due to oil film shear when a turbocharger rotor is accelerated and running at high speeds. These Power losses combined with the thrust bearing power loss, result in mechanical efficiencies in the middle 90% range in conventional turbochargers. In comparison, the mechanical efficiency of the CT3B can approach 99%. This high mechanical efficiency contributes to turbocharger rotor acceleration rates that appreciably faster than turbochargers using sleeve bearing systems. The acceleration rate of the vehicle using a CT3B turbocharger is enhanced and moves the engine out of inefficient operating regimes more rapidly. An improvement in the number of miles per gallon of fuel used is the usual result when a vehicle is equipped with a turbocharger using ball bearings than sleeve bearings.
Under steady state operation, the lower HP losses of ball bearings means more turbine power is available to the turbocharger compressor and this results in a higher engine intake manifold pressure. In most cases, this can make an additional contribution to improving engine fuel consumption.
The CT3B uses ceramic ball bearings for a number of very significant advantages over steel ball bearings. Ceramic balls are 60% lighter than steel balls and operate with lower vibration levels. Since centrifugal forces are significantly reduced at high speeds, their service life is two to five times longer. There is less heat build-up in the ceramic bearings during operation and they can reach operational speed up to 50% higher than steel ball bearings. These favorable mechanical characteristics of the ceramic ball bearings make them an ideal choice for turbocharger bearing systems that run at high operating speeds and are subjected to high exhaust gas temperatures.