Condensing Vapor Lubrication of Self-Acting Long Journal Bearings

[+] Author and Article Information
W. Unterberg

Rocketdyne, A Division of North American Aviation, Inc., Canoga Park, Calif.

J. S. Ausman

Litton Industries, Inc., Woodland Hills, Calif.

J. Basic Eng 88(1), 236-245 (Mar 01, 1966) (10 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3645813 History: Received March 03, 1965; Online November 03, 2011


This is a theoretical investigation into the behavior of self-acting long journal bearings lubricated with vapor which may partially condense in the high-pressure region of a loaded bearing. Thermohydrodynamic considerations indicate that the lubricant temperature remains constant throughout the bearing. When the maximum pressure in the bearing reaches the saturation vapor pressure at the constant temperature, a further increase in bearing load then causes partial condensation instead of a rise in maximum pressure. In the partial condensation regime, the fluid annulus is made up of (a) a single-phase vapor region with variable pressure, and (b) a two-phase liquid-vapor region at constant saturation pressure. The regional interface locations and the bearing pressure distribution are obtained by “linearized ph” methods under the restrictions or boundary conditions of saturation pressure at the interfaces and constant lubricant mass content. It is shown that complete condensation cannot occur, so that the maximum pressure in the condensing vapor-lubricated bearing is limited to the saturation pressure. For this reason, the resulting load capacity always lies below that of a corresponding bearing lubricated with a noncondensing gas.

Copyright © 1966 by ASME
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