Using an order of magnitude estimate of the leading terms in the equations of motion, the three-dimensional flow in a flooded ball bearing is reduced to the investigation of two-dimensional flow problems in a series of bearing cross sections. Combining, through appropriate compatibility conditions, the individual analytical solutions for the spaces confined between the cage and the inner wall of the rings, the halls and the rings and the balls and the cage’s holes, a very simple analytical model is derived. It allows the computation, in the laminar regime, of the flow rate, the pressure drop, and the velocity profile in different cross sections of the confined spaces. The results of the analytical model are confirmed by those obtained using a CFD code and extended to the turbulent regime. The analytical and numerical results are compared to those obtained from flow visualizations and velocity measurements conducted in a specially designed large scale model of a ball bearing. The agreement is very satisfactory.

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