Lignum Vitae North America (LVNA) LLC, Water Lubricated Hardwood Bearings and Rudder Stock
LVNA is a unique company that focuses on the use of lignum vitae, the hardest wood known to man. Self-lubricating guide bearings made of lignum vitae, a unique and complex natural wood product, contain no lead or toxic metals and require no oil or grease to perform their function. The properties which make lignum vitae valuable are great density and hardness, extreme toughness as well as resistance to wear.
Lignum vitae is recognized as a steel friendly material, actually worn to a mirror polish when introduced to steel. Once glazed, lignum vitae will actually reduce the coefficient of the bearing surface, resulting in gained power and efficiency. In the marine industry, lignum vitae bearings have a storied past with many applications. After receiving ABS certification for 40” shafts with 180,000hp at 360psi, LVNA installed its long lasting ship bearings on a coast guard cutter (switching from a competitor’s manmade bearings after just 9 months before wiping), as well as on an aircraft carrier, a Great Lakes freighter as well as a retired victory ship (ships that had been using lignum vitae bearings for 33, 26 and 76 years respectively!). The aft main shaft strut bearings for the world's first nuclear-powered submarine, the USS Nautilus, the fastest cruise liner SS United States, as well as the most powerful heavy icebreakers Polar Star and Polar Sea, were all built with lignum vitae in the stern tubes.
Lignum vitae is exceptionally well suited for dirty aggressive water and older equipment suffering from prop imbalance, shaft deformations, vibration issues and dirty water conditions. Lignum vitae will NEVER smear, wipe or melt onto the shaft. It will NEVER seize the shaft or prevent free rotation. It is a true wear component, not prone to catastrophic failure. Instead, it offers many months of opportunity to detect vibration before any delirious issues arise.
To gain a deeper understanding of lignum vitae, it is important to understand that it is an anomaly of nature. It is the only known plant containing no silica. Its hardness is like aluminum. It is saturated in a guaiac resin lubricant in every cell, bound by interlocking long chain molecules in a tenacious cellulose structure, giving it a mixture of enormous compressive strength, as well as lubricity capable of operating on a mixed mode for dry starts and when speed allows to go hydrodynamic. These qualities set lignum vitae apart and speaks to the tenacity of a material capable of standing up to dirty salt water in a 33 year old aircraft carrier. Manmade materials, by design, cannot distribute all required components into every cell, leaving voids of lubrication and structure, leading to wiping, smearing and melting onto the shaft.
LVNA’s mission is to replace every environmentally threatening oil-filmed bearing used in or near water with lignum vitae water lubricated bearings, for the betterment of the marine industry.