Experimental results are given for load capacity and whirl onset in journal bearings of circular, elliptical and offset halves bore shape. The general validity of the linearized model for predicting whirl is confirmed experimentally. Deviations between experimental results and the model, based on an isoviscous film, are attributed to the varying viscosity that occurs in practice, and to unavoidable excitation that gives rise to premature whirl. It is shown that increasing groove size has a destabilizing effect that can more than cancel the beneficial effect of preloading. This result is particularly relevant to the design of journal bearings in turbomachinery.

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