A theoretical model is presented to solve the transient, two-dimensional, compressible Reynolds equation for a gas bearing. The Newton-Raphson method is used on the governing nonlinear Reynolds equaion while the Galerkin’s method is employed to solve the resulting linear equations for the correction term. The numerical solution of the pressure distribution of an infinitely long, plane-wedge, slider bearing compares very well with the analytical (exact) solution. This theoretical model is then used to calculate the trajectory of a ringless piston within the cylinder of an I. C. engine under a given dynamic loading. The flexible polyhedron unconstrained minimization method is used to find the equilibrium position of the piston within the cylinder for each crankangle. It was found that a 40 mm long ringless piston can support a uniform side load of about 50 Newtons at 2000 r/min running on a gas film. However, the same piston can sustain a nonuniform side load with a much higher peak value (three to five times the uniform load) which lasts approximately 20 to 30 degrees of crankangle only. The sustainable side load by gas lubrication is much lower than the peak piston side load of conventional internal combustion engines.

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