One rather effective way to reduce the frictional drag of fluid film journal or thrust bearings, when operating in the turbulent regime, is to introduce a “floating” member dividing the fluid film into two roughly equal parts. The average shear rate is unchanged, but the effective Reynolds number is reduced, with a corresponding reduction in friction power. Such dividers have been widely used in floating sleeve journal bearings of the small high speed type. Use in thrust bearings is not known. In either application, it is essential that the self-centering divider center itself under all conditions after shaft rotation is initiated. This paper describes and analyzes a divider design that has such a property.

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