A three-dimensional computational thermal contact model is developed. The approach utilizes a combination of the transfer matrix and finite element methods. The frictional heat generated at the contact interface is instantaneously partitioned between the bushing and the shaft. Two methods to couple the heat and temperature at the contact interface are presented. One method automatically accounts for the heat division between contacting bodies by satisfying the heat equilibrium and temperature continuity at interactive surfaces. The other method introduces a fictitious layer between contacting bodies with a specified gap conductance to partition the frictional heat. Application of the model to the heat transfer analysis of journal bearing systems experiencing oscillatory motion is presented. Nonuniformly distributed frictional heat along the axial direction is considered. The model is capable of predicting the transient temperature field for journal bearings. It can also be used to determine the maximum contact temperature, which is difficult to be measured experimentally. Comparison of the simulated resulted along with experimental tests conducted in a laboratory is presented.

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