Optical interferometry is used to study the lubrication of porous bearings. The results suggest that thermal expansion in each metal particle causes it to act as a miniature tapered land bearing. An approximate analysis gives an order of magnitude for the tilt. All the evidence is against the existence of a continuous oil film round the bearing when used normally, which hitherto is the accepted model for the operation of these bearings. Micro-recirculation of the oil was observed and the importance of running-in is discussed.

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