Breakthrough in Self-lubricating Spherical Bearings for Aircraft


DuPont and Fujian Longxi Bearing Corporation Limited (“LS”) have teamed up to achieve a breakthrough in the use of self-lubricating spherical bearings in aircraft design which will improve performance and reduce cost for aerospace companies. The collaboration brings spherical bearing design and wear resistant liner expertise together into a superior performing bearing family.

DuPont and Fujian Longxi have worked together to develop self-lubricating bearings for use in the actuation of airframe control systems. Fujian Longxi is the only Navair (AS81820 Type A, MS standards) certified company in China. These bearings will play a vital role in flight critical tasks such as flight control systems, landing gear and a wide range of other aircraft functions.  This new development will also aid in satisfying demanding offset requirements allowing for greater trade opportunities between countries.

The DuPont™ Vespel® bearing liner has been successfully applied to the Fujian Longxi spherical bearing, allowing the bearings to meet the stringent new standards of SAE AS81820 type “A” attaining maintenance free certification for 4 times as long as the industry average. This means longer maintenance intervals, meaning lower cost in operation, less maintenance time and more time in the air!

While standard maintenance intervals are 25,000 cycles, the DuPont and Fujian Longxi solution allows for at least 100,000 cycles. In fact, during the testing phase Fujian Longxi’s bearings greatly exceeded the 100,000 cycles with a large margin of safety and certifiable life still available. This is a critical breakthrough for aerospace companies who must meet stringent safety, environmental and performance standards in a cost efficient manner and who need to optimize life-cycle and maintenance of parts, particularly metal assemblies causing wear and friction.

Mr. Loic Chereau, global aerospace segment leader for Vespel® at DuPont Performance Materials (DPM), stated that “by teaming up with Fujian Longxi we were able to make a great advance in the application of the Vespel® CP wearstrips bearing to critical parts of the aerospace industry. Our cooperation will create new and exciting opportunities in actuation systems and greatly benefit DuPont and Fujian Longxi customers in the aerospace industry, both in China and globally.

Longxi’s President and Chairman of the Board Mr. Zeng expressed his gratitude for the DuPont Longxi partnership and stated “the relationship between our two companies illustrates the desire and the need for global cooperation that is fruitful for all and our commitment to be a well-respected and trustworthy international company and partner”.

Meeting the AS81820 Type “A” standard was made possible through the global cooperation between these two industry technology leaders and would not have been made possible if it were not for the initiative and guidance of Allawos & Company a global management consulting firm located in Glendora California.

Effectively applying liners to spherical bearings requires overcoming challenges such as low friction and wear resistance, damage to the contact surface, effective bonding of the liner to the spherical shape and adapting to a broad range of sizes. DuPont™ Vespel® CP wearstrips meets these challenges through its high resistance to wear, low friction over a broad range of spherical bearing size and design options. It reduces abrasion, corrosion, adhesion, fatigue, and wear problems, performing under conditions in which most other composites solutions would fail.

While DuPont™ Vespel® CP materials have long been used in aircraft engines, this is the first time they have been used in actuation systems of aircraft. They will bring huge performance benefits and cost savings to customers in the aerospace sector.


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