This paper discusses the design of freshwater lubricated hydrostatic bearings for use as marine stern tube and strut bearings. The advantages of this type of bearing design over conventional hydrodynamic seawater and oil lubricated bearings are: elimination of bearing oil as a source of pollution, improved wear characteristics, reduced seal cost, elimination of shaft noise at low RPM and the potential reduction of tail shaft diameter and inspection interval. Presented in this paper is the development and comparison of two freshwater lubricated hydrostatic bearings designed for the direct replacement of an existing commercial oil lubricated and military seawater lubricated stern tube and strut system. Comparative analysis presents the difference in design and operating parameters, lubricant film thickness versus shaft speed and life cycle cost.

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