The oil flow in the porous matrix is experimentally investigated to explicate the mechanism of lubrication in the porous journal bearings. To visualize the flow in the porous matrix, a simplified model is used for the test bearing, whose matrix is composed of packed glass spheres having small uniform diameter. A dye-injection method is used for visualization. It is observed that there exists a circulation of oil through the porous matrix and this flow contributes to the lubrication in the porous bearings. The flow pattern is dependent on the lubrication conditions. Under hydrodynamic lubrication conditions, the oil in the porous matrix flows away from the position of the load line towards the unloaded region. However under boundary lubrication conditions, when the oil feed pressure is negligibly small, most of the oil in the porous matrix flows toward the region where the oil film pressure would take the minimum.

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