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Assessing the potential replacement of mineral oil with environmentally acceptable lubricants in a stern tube bearing: An experimental analysis of bearing performance


This study compares the performance of a plain bearing, with a similar structure to a tail shaft stern bearing, lubricated with either mineral oil or an environmentally acceptable lubricant (EAL). The main characteristic of the bearing is its length/diameter ratio of <1. Measurements are carried out with the bearing operating under loads from 0.5 to 1 MPa and seven speeds ranging from 1 to 11 rev/s. The bearing lubricated with either mineral oil with a viscosity grade of 100 or an environmentally acceptable lubricant (EAL) with a viscosity grade of 100 or 150 is investigated according to the ISO standard. Bearing wear is simulated by increasing the clearance circle by 0.1 mm. According to the results obtained, the use of an EAL in place of mineral oil does not cause significant changes in the bearing performance, regardless of the value of the clearance radius. The pressure distribution in the oil film, bearing load carrying capacity, eccentricity and friction coefficient have similar values for the entire load and speed ranges considered, and the discrepancies in the results are within the range of the measurement errors. Only an increase in EAL viscosity causes significant changes in bearing performance and these changes comply with the general theory of lubrication.


environmentally acceptable lubricants (EALs), mineral oil, stern tube bearing, bearing wear, marine bearing


Vol. 28 No. 4(112) (2021)
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  • Jerzy Kowalski

    Gdańsk University of Technology
  • Wojciech Leśniewski

    Gdańsk University of Technology
  • Daniel Piątek

    Gdańsk University of Technology
  • Dominika Cuper - Przybylska

    Gdynia Maritime University

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