Oil-lubricated bearings are widely used in high-speed rotating machines such as those found in automotive industries and aerospace. However, environmental issues and risk-averse operations are resulting in the removal of oil and the replacement of all sealed oil bearings with reliable water-lubricated bearings. The low viscosity of water increases Reynolds numbers drastically and therefore makes water-lubricated bearings prone to turbulence effects. This requires finer meshes for finite element modeling when compared to oil-lubricated bearings as the low-viscosity fluid produces a very thin lubricant film. Analyzing water-lubricated bearings can also produce convergence and accuracy issues in traditional oil-based analysis codes. Fitting the velocity profile with experiments having a nondimensional wall distance y+ in a certain range results in Ng-optimized Reichardt's constants k and δ+. The definition of y+ can be used to approximate the first layer thickness calculated for a uniform mesh. On the condition that the y+ is fixed to that of a standard oil bearing for which an oil-bearing code was validated, the number of elements across the film thickness and coefficients used in the eddy-viscosity equation can be adjusted to allow for convergence with other fluids other than that which the traditional oil-bearing code was designed for. This study proposed a new methodology to preserve the y+ value to make water-lubricated thrust bearing models valid. A method for determining the required number of cross-film elements in water-lubricated bearings was found. The results of this study could aid in improving future designs and models of water-lubricated bearings.

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