This paper proposes an alternative model of Reynolds stresses for turbulent lubrication theory. The approach relies on Prandtl’s mixing length theory which is based on a modified Van Driest mixing formula [1]. However, unlike the previous theories [2, 3] the proposed equation is capable of accounting for the effect of shear stress gradient on the mixing length. Thus it is well suited to turbulent flow analysis in bearings where the presence of shear stress gradient due to the effect of pressure gradient should be considered. A series of velocity measurements in thin channels in the low Reynolds number turbulent flow range are analysed using the theory. The data analysis shows a strong effect of shear stress gradient on the viscous sublayer in the low Reynolds number regime. As a result, a new model of mixing length applicable to the turbulent lubrication analysis in thin film at low or high Reynolds numbers or under low or high shear stress gradient is presented.

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