Contributed by the Tribology Division for publication in the ASME JOURNAL OF TRIBOLOGY. Manuscript received by the Tribology Division January 3, 2002 revised manuscript received June 14, 2002. Associate Editor: M. M. Khonsari.

The Reynolds lubrication equation is derived from fundamental equations governing fluid flows 1. There are several assumptions in Reynolds lubrication theory, one of which is on characteristic length ratio. Let the length scale in the “plane” of the film be denoted by Lxz and let Ly be the length scale across the film (Fig. 1(a)). We have Ly/LxzO102 for common bearing geometries. The characteristic length relationship in the inlet and outlet regions of a Rayleigh step bearing (Fig. 1(b)) is LyLxz. However, this relationship changes in the vicinity...
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