Thrust ball bearings are a type of bearing designed specifically for axial loads. Thrust roller bearings are also available and contain rollers instead of balls. Both types of thrust bearing are for axial loads and not radial loads.
Thrust ball bearings contain balls between two races. These balls, like traditional ball bearings, are used as the rolling element within the bearing and allow the bearing to rotate at high speeds. Within the bearing there is also an aligning seat. This seat helps to align the balls within the bearing and to help with any initial misalignment.
Single direction and double direction thrust bearings are available. Double direction thrust ball bearings contain two rows of balls and additional washers. The caged ball set sits within the outer raceways. Most thrust bearings are made from metal, primarily steel, which requires lubrication to reduce friction, enable optimal performance and to prevent corrosion.