A theoretical analysis including linear perturbation is presented, investigating the stability against fractional frequency whirl (“oil whip”) for a symmetrical rotor supported in plain journal bearings or in floating-ring journal bearings operating with an incompressible lubricant under laminar fluid film flow conditions. In order to improve the conventional theoretical model of the bearing behavior, emphasis is put on the effect on stability of the considerable viscosity gradient which can arise in the bearing film due to film friction. The results are presented in the form of design data diagrams for the two bearing types. In the area of practical interest, the average effect on stability arising from the consideration of the viscosity gradient can be characterized as moderate. Concerning the floating-ring bearing superior stability characteristics are obtained primarily from correct choice of clearance ratio.

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