An experimental program conducted on an original device was undertaken to study the performance of plain bearings operating at sufficiently high Reynolds number to introduce Taylor vortices. Curves of relative eccentricity, attitude angle, and friction torque were obtained versus speed and load. Experimental results conducted for Reynolds number smaller than 1100 indicate that both laminar and Taylor vortex regimes are encountered. The occurrence of the vortices is identified by a break in the slope of the friction torque versus speed curves. The position of the break is in good agreement with the theoretical predictions of Di Prima and Ritchie. From the practical point of view, the data show that for constant viscosity the occurence of Taylor vortices does not alter the curves of eccentricity versus either speed or load but modifies the attitude angle and frictional torque. In turn, the increase in frictional torque, and subsequently of temperature may cause a decrease in viscosity and thus a drop in load carrying capacity for fluids such as oils whose variations of viscosity with temperature is large.

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