The importance of rheological properties of lubricants has arisen from the realization that non-Newtonian fluid effects are manifested over a broad range of lubrication applications. In this paper a theoretical investigation of short journal bearings performance characteristics for non-Newtonian power-law lubricants is given. A modified form of the Reynolds’ equation for hydrodynamic lubrication is studied in the asymptotic limit of small slenderness ratio (i.e., bearing length to diameter, L/D = λ→0). Fluid film pressure distributions in short bearings of arbitrary azimuthal length are studied using matched asymptotic expansions in the slenderness ratio. The merit of the short bearing approach used in solving a modified Reynolds’ equation by the method of matched asymptotic expansions is emphasized. Fluid film pressure distributions are determined without recourse to numerical solutions to a modified Reynolds’ equation. Power-law rheological exponents less than and equal to one are considered; power-law fluids exhibit reduced load capacities relative to the Newtonian fluid. The cavitation boundary shape is determined from Reynolds’ free surface condition; and the boundary shape is shown to be independent of the bearing eccentricity ratio.

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