Plain Bearing Lubricant Selection

Reducing lubricant selection for a plain bearing down to a few pages of practical guidance is difficult. Plain bearing design includes 20-plus variables, including aspects of the build design and materials (bearing size, shaft radius, clearance, frictional force, friction coefficient, shaft speed, eccentricity, etc.) and the lubricant considerations (viscosity, viscosity index, pressure viscosity index, lubricant-specific heat, temperature, supply rate, egress rate, recirculation flow rate, etc.).

This article provides a simplistic overview of the broad aspects of lubricant selection. For those with an appetite for details, I recommend Dr. Michael Khonsari’s The Tribology Data Handbook.1 A less detailed review is provided effectively by Michael J. Neale in The Tribology Handbook, 2nd Edition.2

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