Thrust bearings are designed primarily to support axial loads at contact angles between 30° and 90°. Similar to radial bearings, thrust bearing designs may incorporate balls or rollers as rolling elements.
The steel balls of single direction thrust ball bearings are arranged between a pair of washers (shaft washer and housing washer), and the normal contact angle is 90°. Axial loads can be supported in only one direction, and radial loads cannot be accommodated. These bearings are not suitable for high-speed operation.