CONVENTIONAL plain bearings depend for their smooth operation on a film of lubricant which separates the bearing and mating surfaces, when these are in relative motion. However, there are many service conditions under which a constant film of lubricant cannot be guaranteed, for example in oscillatory motion, or when the two parts are moving at low speeds under high loads. Most lubricating oils and greases also have temperature restrictions, becoming too viscous at low temperatures and tending to decompose at high temperatures. Another factor is the possibility of contamination of products by lubricant in, for example, food processing or textile equipment.
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