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This article discusses the classification of sliding bearings and describes the major groups of soft metal bearing materials: babbitts, copper-lead bearing alloys, bronze, and aluminum alloys. It provides a discussion on the methods for fluid-film lubrication in bearings. The article presents the variables of interest for a rotating shaft and the load-carrying capacity and surface roughness of bearings. Grooves and depressions are often provided in bearing surfaces to supply or feed lubricant to the load-carrying regions. The article explains the effect of contaminants in bearings and presents the steps for failure analysis of sliding bearings. It also reviews the factors responsible for bearing failure with examples.

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