A multidimensional finite element model of a viscoelastic sliding bearing is presented. The model resulted into a simplified finite element model composed by an elastic matrix and a damping matrix. These matrices are independent from each other since the viscoelastic material properties are assumed to be of Kelvin type material. Kelvin type materials are approximated as a linear combination of an elastic modulus and a viscous coefficient. This simple model describes accurately most rubbers used in machine components. The model combines the linearity of the Kelvin type material plus the finite element interpolation scheme. Thus, the advantages of the finite element discretization can be applied to any geometry. In order to obtain Kelvin’s coefficients a test rig was built. Material properties were experimentally determined and the model was validated. Afterwards, a discretized model was developed for a radial support bearing with and embedded sandwich-like rubber band. From this model, it was possible to analyze bearing stiffness and damping properties. Then, damping and stiffness coefficients were input to a rotordynamic model of a single-mass rotor with a slender shaft to assess imbalance response characteristics obtained with viscoelastic sliding bearings. This procedure allows the designer to evaluate alternative damping mechanisms that can be added to sliding bearings.

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