By the use of a new variational technique, the bearing profile which maximizes the load carrying capacity of an infinite length journal bearing is obtained. The lubricant is assumed to be incompressible and of constant viscosity. The flow is assumed to be laminar and the optimization is based upon a minimum film thickness. The solution obtained is a concentric step bearing with a film thickness ratio of 1.812 and a ridge to pad ratio of 0.328. It is mathematically shown by the use of the “nonlocal” formulation that this step profile does yield a maximum among all profiles sufficiently “close.”

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