Comparison of iterative methods for the solution of compressible-fluid reynolds equation

Nenzi Wang*, Shih Hung Chang, Hua Chih Huang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

21 Scopus citations


This study presents an efficacy comparison of iterative solution methods for solving the compressible-fluid Reynolds equation in modeling air- or gas-lubricated bearings. A direct fixed-point iterative (DFI) method and Newton's method are employed to transform the Reynolds equation in a form that can be solved iteratively. The iterative solution methods examined are the Gauss-Seidel method, the successive over-relaxation (SOR) method, the preconditioned conjugate gradient (PCG) method, and the multigrid method. The overall solution time is affected by both the transformation method and the iterative method applied. In this study, Newton's method shows its effectiveness over the straightforward DFI method when the same iterative method is used. It is demonstrated that the use of an optimal relaxation factor is of vital importance for the efficiency of the SOR method. The multigrid method is an order faster than the PCG and optimal SOR methods. Also, the multigrid and PCG methods involve an extended coding work and are less flexible in dealing with gridwork and boundary conditions. Consequently, a compromise has to be made in terms of ease of use as well as programming effort for the solution of the compressible-fluid Reynolds equation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number021702
JournalJournal of Tribology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2011


  • Reynolds equation
  • air bearing
  • gas bearing
  • iterative method


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