A linearization method is employed on the Reynolds equation to obtain the load and friction torque of a Rayleigh step-film scheme applied to a journal bearing of finite length. The analysis is broken into two parts; i.e., the stepped and ridge regions. The film thickness is considered constant in each region thereby simplifying the linearized Reynolds equation. In addition to the usual plain-bearing parameters (the compressibility number, eccentricity ratio, and length-to-diameter ratio), the load and friction force of a stepped bearing depend on the ratio of the stepped clearance to ridge clearance, the ratio of the width of ridge to the width of the pad, and the number of pads. The solution for the load and friction force for a single pad is obtained in the form of a highly convergent series. A number of equal pads are disposed around a journal and the total bearing load is computed for various eccentricities. Computation from the infinite series is lengthy and a digital computer was used in order to carry out the calculational work. This enabled optima to be selected for each system composed of different numbers of pads. The friction torque and hence the bearing power loss were computed for every case.

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