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ball-and-socket joint, in engineering, mechanical connection used between parts that must be allowed some relative angular motion in nearly all directions. As the name implies, the joint consists essentially of a spherical knob at the end of a shaft, with the knob fitting securely into a mating socket. Like other mechanical joints, a ball-and-socket joint must have some provision for lubrication and is normally provided with a seal to prevent loss of the lubricant. Joints of this type are commonly used in mounting the front wheels of automobiles, allowing these wheels movement sufficient for steering. In this application they are usually called ball joints.
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ball joint[′bȯl ‚jȯint]
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
A joint in which one part has a ball-shaped end that is held in a spherical shell attached to the other, thereby permitting the axis of one part to be set at any angle with respect to the other.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
ball-and-socket joint, ball joint
1. a coupling between two rods, tubes, etc., that consists of a spherical part fitting into a spherical socket, allowing free movement within a specific conical volume
2. Anatomy a bony joint, such as the hip joint, in which a rounded head fits into a rounded cavity, allowing a wide range of movement
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005