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Experimental study on the effects of oil groove location

on temperature and pressure profiles in journal bearing lubrication
$
Mohamad Ali Ahmad
a,n
, Salmiah Kasolang
a
, R.S. Dwyer-Joyce
b
a
Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia
b
The Leonardo Centre for Tribology, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Sheffield, Sir Frederick Mappin Building, Mappin Street,
Sheffield, UK
a r t i c l e i n f o
Article history:
Received 10 August 2013
Received in revised form
4 February 2014
Accepted 13 February 2014
Available online 22 February 2014
Keywords:
Film temperature
Film pressure
Hydrodynamic lubrication
Bearing
a b s t r a c t
In the present study, an experimental work was conducted to determine the effect of oil groove location
on the temperature and pressure in hydrodynamic journal bearings. A journal with a diameter of
100 mm and a length-to-diameter ratio of ½ was used. The oil supply pressure was set at 0.20–0.25 MPa.
The groove was positioned at seven different locations, namely À451, À301, À151, 01, þ150, þ301 and
þ451. Measurements of temperature and pressure were obtained for speeds of 300, 500 and 800 rpm at
different radial loads. Changes in oil groove location were shown to affect the temperature and pressure
to some extent.
& 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
1. Introduction
A single groove for a plain journal bearing is common in
industrial applications. The groove is used to distribute oil over
the length of the journal and to improve the temperature field. Oil
enters the groove through an oil supply hole and flows either by
gravity or under pressure. The oil supply conditions (pressure,
temperature, groove dimensions and location) influence the flow
rate. Theoretically, the conditions will affect the oil temperature
inside the bearing as well. When the temperature changes, the
viscosity is altered, subsequently affecting the film thickness.
In a study regarding the effect of groove location and supply
pressure on the THD performance of a steadily loaded journal
bearing, Costa et al. found that locating the groove at 301 led to
a reduction in maximum temperature [1]. In this study, the length-
to-diameter ratio was 0.8, and the lubricant type was ISO VG 32.
In another study, Majumdar and Saha [2] observed that the
maximum temperature occurred near the position of minimum
film thickness. The authors also concluded that thermal effects on
journal bearing performance cannot be neglected and that the
assumption of an isothermal lubricant is thus inadequate for
evaluating bearing performance. This effect becomes critical in
the case of high speeds and loads.
The pressure profile in a journal bearing can be predicted using
the Reynolds equation [3,4]. Many experimental and theoretical
studies have been conducted to predict the pressure profiles of
journal bearings. Wang and Khonsari [5,6] used an analytical
solution and static performance to study the effect of oil inlet
pressure and the position of an axially grooved oil supply hole.
Previous studies by the authors regarding pressure profiles [7]
were described, and the experimental values obtained were
compared to theoretical profiles resulting from the charts of
Raimondi and Boyd [8]. It was also observed that changes in the
oil inlet pressure tend to affect the maximum pressure [9].
In the present study, extensive experimental work has been
conducted to determine the effect of oil groove location on
temperature and pressure profiles in hydrodynamic lubrication
around a journal bearing.
2. Background
2.1. Oil groove supply
In hydrodynamic analysis, the oil supply is assumed to be available
to flow into the bearing at least as fast as it leaks out. In this study, oil
was fed into the system by an oil supply hole and groove. Ideally, the
groove should be as long as the bearing, but this would cause all the
lubricant to leak from the sides of the groove [10]. In this experimental
Contents lists available at ScienceDirect
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/triboint
Tribology International
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.triboint.2014.02.012
0301-679X & 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

This paper was presented at the 2013 World Tribology Congress.
n
Correspondence to: Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Universiti Teknologi
MARA, 40450 Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia.
Tel.: þ60 12 3319244; fax:þ60 3 55435160.
E-mail address: alie_76_02@yahoo.com (M.A. Ahmad).
Tribology International 74 (2014) 79–86
study, a short angle groove type was used. The lubricant oil supplied to
the bearing was pressurised. A pressurised lubricant supply can reduce
lubricant heating and viscosity loss; it also prevents shaft-to-bush
contact during starting and stopping and modifies vibration stability.
Costa et al. [1] reported that an increased oil supply pressure can
reduce the operating temperature and increase the maximum circum-
ferential hydrodynamic pressure. This result is consistent with the
findings reported in [11], which concluded that the oil supply pressure
and the geometry of the feed control determine the cooling effects.
2.2. Temperature in a journal bearing
Temperature monitoring is a well-established technique for
detecting overheating and preventing hydrodynamic bearing
damage [12]. As reported by Moreno et al. [13], a significant
number of numerical studies have focused on the steady-state
temperature in journal bearings. In their study, the primary
difficulty was associated with the exponential dependency of the
viscosity on temperature. Another previous study on temperature
distributions in journal bearings demonstrated that the load
capacity is generally less than that predicted by classical isother-
mal theory [14].
An effective temperature is commonly used to calculate the
effective viscosity in operating journal bearings. The effective
temperature, T
eff
, can be calculated as
T
eff
¼T
in
þΔT=2 ð1Þ
where T
in
is the input temperature and ΔT is the temperature rise.
In this study, the validity of using an effective temperature was
investigated for various oil groove positions.
2.3. Pressure in a journal bearing
The pressure in the bearing can be plotted by solving the
Reynolds equation [3,4]. This differential equation governs the
pressure distribution in fluid film lubrication using an incompres-
sible fluid, as shown in Fig. 1.
From this differential equation, parameters such as the geo-
metry of the surface, the relative sliding velocity, the properties of
the fluids and the magnitude of the normal load can be
determined. In this study, the ratio of the bearing length L over
the bearing diameter D (L/D) is equal to 0.5. From this value, the
Sommerfeld number was calculated as [15]
S ¼
r
c

2
μN
P
ð2Þ
where m is the viscosity (Pa s), N is the speed (rps), r is the journal
radius (m), c is the radial clearance (m) and P is the radial load per
unit of projected bearing area (N/m
2
).
Bearing number, S calculated from Eq. (2), was used to obtain
the predicted values of eccentricity ratio, friction coefficient,
maximum film pressure, position of maximum film pressure and
position of minimum film thickness from the charts of Raimondi
and Boyd. These predicted values are used for validation purposes
with the following assumptions:

The flow is isothermal.

The surfaces are smooth.

The fluid is Newtonian and the flow is laminar.
3. Apparatus
The journal bearing test rig used in this study to characterise
the temperature and pressure profiles is shown in Fig. 2. A journal
with a 100-mm diameter and a length-to-diameter ratio of 1/2
was used. The bearing piece was modified to fix 12 thermocouples
and 12 pressure transducers around the journal bearing circum-
ference at 301 intervals, as shown in Fig. 3. The journal was then
mounted horizontally into the bearing. A pneumatic bellows was
used to apply the required load. The maximum speed of the
journal test rig was 1000 rpm, and the speed used for testing was
300, 500 and 800 rpm.
A single groove, 40 mm long, 10 mm wide and 5 mm deep, was
used in this study. During the tests, the journal bearing was run at
different loads (10 and 20 kN). The oil supply groove was posi-
tioned at À451, À301, À151, 01, 151, 301 and 451. Details regarding
the test bearing dimensions, lubricant properties and operating
parameters are given in Table 1. The pressure transducers mea-
sured the fluid pressure developed through holes bored to within
0.5 mm from the bearing surface [12,16]. These holes are generally
called as pressure taps. Three additional thermocouples were
installed to measure the room temperature as well as the lubricant
inlet and outlet temperatures. The oil inlet supply pressure was
regulated using a power pack lubrication system and was main-
tained between 0.2 to 0.25 MPa throughout the experiments.
These inlet pressures were monitored using a PSAN-L1CPV digital
pressure sensor.
4. Results
Experimental results for the temperature and pressure profiles
are plotted in Figs. 4–15. Fig. 4(a) shows temperature profiles for
speeds of 300, 500 and 800 rpm at loads of 10 and 20 kN at
different groove locations.
The groove position has been defined to be positive to the right
side of the vertical line passing through the centre of the journal
and negative to the left as shown in Fig. 3. The groove positions
were set at À451, À151, 151 and 451 for all cases. Fig. 4(b) shows
the corresponding temperature profiles for groove positions of
À301, 01 and 301. The Sommerfeld number was calculated using
Eq. 2. From this bearing characteristic number, the minimum film
thickness position was obtained from the Raimondi–Boyd chart
and is indicated in each figure.
The effective temperature was calculated using Eq. (1) based on
the inlet and outlet temperatures recorded when the oil supply Fig. 1. Pressure distribution schematic, adapted from [15].
M.A. Ahmad et al. / Tribology International 74 (2014) 79–86 80
groove was located at 01. Both Fig. 4(a) and (b) indicate that the
temperature increases with speed and load. In all cases, the
temperatures are higher before the minimum film thickness
region is reached. This result occurs because the friction between
the fluid layers is expected to increase as it enters the converging
region.
To examine the effect of groove location, a temperature profile
for 300 rpm and 10 kN was plotted independently, as shown in
Fig. 5. At a groove location of 01 (parallel to load applied), the
temperature was significantly higher compared to those at other
groove locations. The temperature profile obtained at a groove
location of 151 is relatively low, with a temperature difference
of 51.
Temperature profiles obtained for 20 kN at a speed of 300 rpm
are plotted in Fig. 6. The temperature profile for a groove position
of 151 reached the highest values compared to the other positions.
This result is the opposite of the trend shown in Fig. 5 for 10 kN.
This phenomenon may be explained by the optimum zone recom-
mended in the charts of Raimondi and Boyd [15]. For 20 kN and
300 rpm, the Sommerfeld number (Eq. 2) falls near the lower
range of the optimum zone, characterised by minimum friction
values.
Figs. 7 and 8 illustrate the journal speed for 500 rpm at loads of
10 and 20 kN, respectively. In the region adjacent to the minimum
film thickness position, both Figs. 7 and 8 show relatively lower
temperature profiles at the groove position of 451.
The effective temperatures in Figs. 7 and 8 are both 40.5 1C,
even though the temperature profiles in the figures are different.
As the load increases from 10 kN (Fig. 7) to 20 kN (Fig. 8),
Fig. 2. Diagram of the journal bearing test rig. (1) Support structure, (2) motor, (3) motor bracket, (4) spindle assembly, (5) bellows top plate, (6) bellows guide plate,
(7) loading lever, (8) pivot assembly, (9) chain, (10) chain holder, (11) load cell holder, (12) load cell, (13) loading plate, (14) journal bearing and (15) pneumatic bellows.
Oil Inlet, θ = +ve
30
Load
θ = -ve
Fig. 3. Temperature sensor and pressure transducer locations.
Table 1
Dimensions of test bearing, lubricant properties, operating
parameters and sensor specifications.
Parameter Value
Journal diameter, D 100 mm
Bearing length, L 50 mm
Radial clearance, c 52 mm
Applied load, W 10 and 20 kN
Journal speed, 300–800 rpm
Lubricant type Shell Tellus S2 M
Lubricant viscosity 68 cSt @ 40 1C
8.8 cSt @ 100 1C
Bearing material
Bush material Brass
Shaft material Carbon steel
Bush dimension
Inner diameter 100.000104 mm
Outside diameter 230 mm
Surface roughness 1.0 mm value of R
a
Pressure sensor
Model MEAS (M5156)
Range 10 MPa
Accuracy 0.00171% MPa
Temperature sensor
Model PT 100
Range 0–100 1C
Accuracy 71% measured temperature
Room temperature 23–26 1C
M.A. Ahmad et al. / Tribology International 74 (2014) 79–86 81
the maximum difference in the temperature profiles reaches 4 1C.
Fig. 8 also shows that different oil groove supply positions tend to
produce different temperature profiles, with a maximum differ-
ence of 5 1C among the profiles.
For 800 rpm, the temperature profiles obtained for 10 and
20 kN are plotted in Figs. 9 and 10, respectively.
In Fig. 9, for the 10-kN load, the temperature profiles for each
oil groove position are more distinct, with less overlap in the data.
This trend is particularly obvious for angles below the minimum
film thickness angle. The oil groove position of 451 clearly shows
a lower temperature profile.
Similar to the case of 500 rpm, although the effective tempera-
ture remains constant as the load increases from 10 kN (Fig. 9) to
20 kN (Fig. 10) for 800 rpm, the actual temperature profiles are
different, with a maximum temperature difference of 5 1C.
Pressure profiles for 300, 500 and 800 rpm at 10- and 20-kN
loads for different oil groove positions are shown in Figs. 11–15.
The oil groove positions of À451, À151, þ151 and þ451 are offsets
of the initial transducer locations, whereas those for À301
andþ301 follow the initial transducer positions. The position of
the minimum film thickness, the position of the maximum
pressure and the value of the maximum pressure obtained from
the chart of Raimondi and Boyd are indicated in the plots for
comparison.
As shown in Fig. 11, an oil groove location of 301 tends to have
a lower maximum pressure compared to the other oil groove
locations. The maximum pressure predicted from the charts of
Raimondi and Boyd was found to be higher than the experimental
result.
Increasing the load from 10 to 20 kN resulted in an increase in
the maximum oil pressure as well as a change in the position of
the maximum pressure and that of the terminating pressure, as
shown in Fig. 12. Terminating pressure position is the location
where pressure was assumed to be zero. However, it is not true in
this study because pressure was recorded by the transducer after
the terminating pressure position. Thus, one would expect that the
Min. Film Thickness Region
Min. Film Thickness Region
Oil inlet points
Oil inlet points
Fig. 4. (a) Temperature profiles for oil groove locations of À451, À151, 151 and 451 for different speeds and loads. (b) Temperature profiles for oil groove locations of À301,
01, and 301 for different speeds and loads.
M.A. Ahmad et al. / Tribology International 74 (2014) 79–86 82
minimum film thickness is also reduced. The effects of oil groove
location on the converging section before the minimum film load
are more prominent.
Figs. 13 and 14 show pressure profiles at 500 rpm for 10 and
20 kN, respectively. Theoretically, the bearing characteristic num-
ber S increases with speed.
Hence, the pressure terminating position, the maximum pres-
sure value and its position are expected to change compared to the
results found for the case of 300 rpm. At 500 rpm, the oil groove
location of 451 shows the lowest pressure profiles for both load
conditions, 10 and 20 kN. In contrast, the oil groove location of 01
produces the highest pressure profile.
For 800 rpm, pressure profiles are plotted in Fig. 15 for 10- and
20-kN loads. The oil groove location of 451 shows the lowest
pressure profile while the oil groove location of 01 produces the
highest pressure profile. For the case of 20 kN, the maximum
pressure value obtained for the different oil groove supplies
remains almost constant. This trend may suggest that the oil
groove location has no significant effect on the maximum pressure
values.
In this study, it was found that the predicted maximum
pressure profile obtained from the charts of Raimondi and Boyd
is 30% lower than the experimental results.
5. Conclusion
Experimental measurements of temperature and pressure for
different oil groove locations in the hydrodynamic lubrication of
journal bearings were performed. Experimental results indicating
the effects of different oil groove locations for different speeds and
loads have been presented. For the specific experimental operating
conditions employed in this study, the following conclusions can
be drawn:
(i) The temperature profile tends to decrease when the oil groove
supply is located in the converging section near the minimum
film thickness position. In this experiment, changing the groove
location from 01 to 451 significantly reduced the temperature
profile.

T
eff
= 36.9
Min film thickness position, 218
0
0

C
Fig. 5. Temperature profiles for oil groove locations of À451, À301, À151, 01, À151, 301 and 451 for 300 rpm at 10 kN.
Min film thickness position, 211
0
T
eff
= 37.7
0
C
Fig. 6. Temperature profiles for oil groove locations of À451, À301, À151, 01, À151, 301 and 451 for 300 rpm at 20 kN.
M.A. Ahmad et al. / Tribology International 74 (2014) 79–86 83

Min film thickness position, 225
0

T
eff
= 40.5
0
C
Fig. 7. Temperature profiles for oil groove locations of À451, À301, À151, 01, À151, 301 and 451 for 500 rpm at 10 kN.
T
eff
= 40.5
0
C
Min film thickness position, 216
0
Fig. 8. Temperature profiles for oil groove locations of À451, À301, À151, 01, À151, 301 and 451 for 500 rpm at 20 kN.
T
eff
= 46.4
Min film thickness position, 232
0
0
C
Fig. 9. Temperature profiles for oil groove locations of À451, À301, À151, 01, À151, 301 and 451 for 800 rpm at 10 kN.
M.A. Ahmad et al. / Tribology International 74 (2014) 79–86 84
T
eff
= 46.4
Min film thickness position, 222
0
0
C
Fig. 10. Temperature profiles for oil groove locations of À451, À301, À151, 01, À151, 301 and 451 for 800 rpm at 20 kN.
Terminating position, 232
0
Max. Pressure position, 197
0
Max. Pressure, 6.45MPa
P
r
e
s
s
u
r
e
,

M
P
a

Min film thickness
position, 218
0
Fig. 11. Pressure profiles for oil groove locations of À451, À301, À151, 01, À151,
301 and 451 for 300 rpm at 10 kN.
Terminating position, 221
0
Max. Pressure position, 195
0
Max. Pressure, 15.4MPa
P
r
e
s
s
u
r
e
,

M
P
a

Min. film thickness
position, 211
0
Fig. 12. Pressure profiles for oil groove locations of À451, À301, À151, 01, À151,
301 and 451 for 300 rpm at 20 kN.
Terminating position, 241
0
Max. Pressure position, 197
0
Max. Pressure, 5.71MPa
P
r
e
s
s
u
r
e
,

M
P
a

Min film thickness
position, 225
0
Fig. 13. Pressure profiles for oil groove locations of À451, À301, À151, 01, À151,
301 and 451 for 500 rpm at 10 kN.
P
r
e
s
s
u
r
e
,

M
P
a

Terminating position, 229
0
Max. Pressure position, 196
0
Max. Pressure, 13.8MPa
Min. film thickness
position 216
Fig. 14. Pressure profiles for oil groove locations of À451, À301, À151, 01, À151,
301 and 451 for 500 rpm at 20 kN.
M.A. Ahmad et al. / Tribology International 74 (2014) 79–86 85
(ii) Different oil groove locations tend to affect the pressure
profile in journal bearing lubrication. In this study, changing
the groove location from 01 to 451 significantly varied the
pressure profile. It was found that the pressure profile in the
converging region before the minimum film thickness is the
lowest at 301 oil groove position for all cases. On the contrary,
after the minimum film thickness in the diverging region, the
pressure profile is the highest for all cases.
(iii) From the pressure profile obtained, some pressure values
were still recorded after the pressure terminating position
predicted by Raimondi and Boyd charts. This is as expected
because the charts are only approximations. However,
a further investigation into this phenomenon is needed in
future.
Acknowledgements
The authors would like to thank the Ministry of Higher
Education of Malaysia (MOHE) for financial support extended to
this study through MyBrain, E-science, FRGS and ERGS Grant
awards. The authors also thank the Research Management
Institute of UiTM for facilitating this project.
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P
r
e
s
s
u
r
e
,

M
P
a

Terminating position,
250
0
/237
0
Max. Pressure position, 197
0
Max. Pressure, 4.76/12.1 MPa
Fig. 15. Pressure profiles for oil groove locations of À451, À301, À151, 01, À151,
301 and 451 for 800 rpm at 10 and 20 kN.
M.A. Ahmad et al. / Tribology International 74 (2014) 79–86 86