The bearing load of a plane inclined sector-shaped hydrodynamic thrust bearing, under simultaneous translation and transverse vibration, is measured experimentally. The results are used to evaluate the lubrication theory solutions. Consequently, both the influences of the unsteady film inertia, measured by the squeeze Reynolds number Res, and the convective film inertia, measured by the modified Reynolds number Re*, on load amplitude and phase are investigated. It is found that the inertia-neglected lubrication solutions underestimate: (1) the oscillatory component of the bearing load by 6.5 percent at Res = 1.0 and by 1.4 percent at Re* = 1.0, and (2) the mean component of the bearing load by 0.7 percent at Res = 1.0 and by 2.0 percent at Re* = 1.0 Moreover, the fluid inertia induces an equivalent negative spring force component which shifts the phase of the bearing load by 9.5 deg at Res =1.0 and by 4 deg at Re* = 1.0 as compared to the lubrication theory predictions. Hence it can be an important consideration when designing bearings for vibration control purposes.

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