Based on the Navier-Stokes equations in which the pressure is assumed to be constant across the film thickness, various approximate solutions and the exact one for the dynamic performance of an infinitely wide, stepped thrust bearing in a laminar flow regime are presented under the assumption of a small harmonic vibration. From comparison of the approximate solutions with the exact one, it is concluded that some kind of averaging approach in which the time dependent term is treated exactly while the convective inertia terms are averaged out across the film thickness gives close approximations in a wide range of designing conditions, and that the other kind of averaging approach in which all the inertia terms including the time dependent term are averaged out across the film thickness gives fairly good approximations.

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