The rigid-body dynamics of rotors supported in plain, cylindrical, cavitated, fluid-film journal bearings are investigated numerically by Runge-Kutta extrapolation techniques. Expressions for journal force due to the fluid-film are developed for the short-bearing (Ocvirk), long-bearing (Sommerfeld), and finite-length-bearing (Warner) approximate solutions to the Reynolds equation. Stability of plane motion is investigated for each solution under the assumption of light initial impact. The long-bearing solution appears to be most conservative (that is, it predicts the onset of instability at lower angular velocity ratios than the other solutions) for static eccentricity ratios between 0 and 0.5, while the finite-bearing solution, with bearing length-to-diameter ratio L/D equal to 1, appears most conservative at higher static eccentricity ratios. Variations in L/D between 0.5 and 2.0 appear not to affect journal path shapes appreciably. Variations in initial journal center velocity are found to be important, at least with the short-bearing solution: large initial velocities are observed to produce instability for certain parameter combinations which are stable under small initial position or velocity disturbances. In all cases investigated, instability is not observed above static eccentricity ratios of 0.83.

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