Tribology and Lubrication Technology November 2012 : Page 5
FroM the edItor Evan Zabawski Hydrodynamic Lubrication Redux History proves the axiom “Publish or perish.” t was recently suggested that TLT reprint some of the outstand-ing articles that have been pub-lished in Lubrication Engineering (TLT’s predecessor). So this month we start with “What is EHD?” by Vern Wedeven ( see page 12 ), previously published in June 1975. As I read over the article, I found it referenced a very well-known paper fi rst published in 1886 entitled, “On the Theory of Lubrication and its Application to Mr. Beauchamp Tower’s Experiments Including an Experimental Determination of the Viscosity of Olive Oil,” by Osborne Reynolds (of Reynolds number fame). This 78-page paper pres-ents us with an interesting story. Beauchamp Tower was experiment-ing with a journal bearing test rig, de-signed to mimic the conditions of a railway axle box in order to measure friction. Using this apparatus, he veri-fi ed that the coeffi cient of friction var-ied with load and velocity and pub-lished these fi ndings in 1883. In his fi nal phase of experiments, he drilled a hole in the bearing for the installation of a lubrica-tor, but for unknown reasons he reassem-bled the bearing and put it into operation before the lubricator was installed. Tower witnessed oil leak out of this hole during ex-periments and when he tried to plug it with a wooden plug, he watched in vain as pres-sure slowly pushed it out. When Tower mounted a pressure gauge to the hole, he found the pressure exceeded the scale of the gauge, even though the load typically averaged only 100 psi. He then sys-tematically explored the distribution of pres-sure over the surface of the bearing by drill-ing more holes and connecting them to pressure gauges. What Tower discovered was that the pressure was asymmetrical and that ond-order differential equation, a sim-plifi cation of the Navier-Stokes equa-tion—so complex it took years before it was solved for journal bearings. The two integrals he needed could be found in several textbooks at the time, and one was even on a math exam he wrote in 1863. Reynolds’ ability to integrate is perhaps evidenced by his decision to expand the equation. What is of further interest is that Reynolds chose to only use olive oil, when Tower had also used lard, sperm, rape and mineral oil in his experiments. The fact Reynolds had not requested a sample of the mineral oil that Tower had used suggests Reynolds did not want Tower to know of his progress on the problem. This distance continued when Reynolds did not review Tower’s third or fourth papers. Had he done so, he may have discovered the mechanism of par-allel surface thrust bearings a full 60 years before they were eventually redis-covered by Fogg in 1946. During the same period, Reynolds also worked on his theory of the “granu-larity” of nature, namely that an array of grains (in the order of 10,000 times small-er than an electron) were responsible for the physical properties of matter. Though this theory was eventually disproven, the image of him holding a curved bowl with two layers of grains in conformity is the most common depiction. Reynolds’ 1886 paper was hard to follow and did not evoke the collaboration of his peers, yet it remains the seminal work that founded the theory of hydrodynamic lubrication. Though Osborne Reynolds’ theory of the “granularity” of nature was eventually disproven, the image of him holding a curved bowl with two layers of grain in conformity is the most common depiction. a ﬂ uid fi lm of fi nite thickness could be main-tained in a loaded bearing without the need for an external pump, which we call full-fi lm or hydrodynamic lubrication today. After these results were presented in Tower’s second paper in 1885, Reynolds rushed the aforementioned paper to publica-tion. The paper was reviewed by Lord Ray-leigh (the fi rst to correctly explain why the sky is blue) and George Stokes (the unit for measuring viscosity is named after him for his contributions on ﬂ uid dynamics). Around 1884 Stokes had announced he was working on an analysis of Tower’s initial fi ndings. Therefore, Reynolds was committing a faux pas by having stepped in academic territory that was marked out by his senior. Ultimately, the paper equated to a sec-Evan Zabawski, CLS, is a reliability specialist in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. You can reach him at evan. email@example.com. 5 Trivia alert: The longest river on Earth is the Nile, which is 6,670 kilometers in length.
From the Editor
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