The hydrodynamic theory of lubrication in journal bearings is extended to elastico-viscous lubricants. The stress relaxation effect upon flow, pressure distribution, friction, and bearing load capacity is considered. This analysis deals with the case of a small relaxation time compared with the transit time required for the lubricant to pass through the bearing. A lubricant model is assumed with a constant relaxation time and without any cross stresses. It is found that the bearing load capacity of an elastic liquid lubrication film is higher than that of a Newtonian one, while the friction torque remains unchanged. Existing experimental studies have shown considerable improvement in journal bearing performance with elastico-viscous lubricants. This analysis suggests stress relaxation to be one of the factors giving rise to this improvement.

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