The linearized theory for the stability of self-acting gas bearings is extended to include bearing systems with noncircular members or additional elements of flexibility and damping. The theory offers a satisfactory explanation for the unusual behavior of a bearing system with a three-lobed rotor, including the whirl at low speeds and the whirl cessation. A comparison between the theory and experiments for a flexibly mounted bearing system shows that the theory can be applied to predict the stability boundaries of bearing systems with additional elements of flexibility. A new type of bearing apparatus is proposed in which it would be possible to obtain information about bearing stability without operating at the stability boundary.

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