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I would appreciate if you could assist with a gear failure (occurring) after just seven weeks in service, post installation. This driving gear wheel has been installed in a medium-speed engine with backlash present at four different positions; with additional backlash checked on the mating surfaces. All backlash was found within (OEM)-recommended values. Please note included photos — it seems that the crack has started at the root fillet. Any comments would be appreciated.
Photography is an essential part of gear failure analysis. It not only provides a fast, convenient way to accurately document the appearance of gear failure, but also is an effective diagnostic tool because the magnification obtained through photographic enlargement and slide projection often discloses evidence that may have been missed if the gears were not photographed.
Point-surface-origin (PSO) macropitting occurs at sites of geometric stress concentration (GSC) such as discontinuities in the gear tooth profile caused by micropitting, cusps at the intersection of the involute profile and the trochoidal root fillet, and at edges of prior tooth damage, such as tip-to-root interference. When the profile modifications in the form of tip relief, root relief, or both, are inadequate to compensate for deflection of the gear mesh, tip-to-root interference occurs. The interference can occur at either end of the path of contact, but the damage is usually more severe near the start-of-active-profile (SAP) of the driving gear.
Gears are manufactured with thin rims for several reasons. Steel gears are manufactured with thin rims and webs where low weight is important. Nonmetallic gears, manufactured by injection molding, are designed with thin rims as part of the general design rule to maintain uniform thickness to ensure even post-mold cooling. When a thin-rimmed gear fails, the fracture is thought the root of the gear, as shown in Fig. 1a, rather than the usual fillet failure shown in Fig. 1b.
"Gear Train" is a new Gear Technology section focusing on training and education in the gear industry. For the first installment, we've focused on AGMA's online and video training programs.
In his Handbook of Gear Design (Ref.1), Dudley states (or understates): "The best gear people around the world are now coming to realize that metallurgical quality is just as important as geometric quality." Geometric accuracy without metallurgical integrity in any highly stressed gear or shaft would only result in wasted effort for all concerned - the gear designer, the manufacturer, and the customer - as the component's life cycle would be prematurely cut short. A carburized automotive gear or shaft with the wrong surface hardness, case depth or core hardness may not even complete its basic warranty period before failing totally at considerable expense and loss of prestige for the producer and the customer. The unexpected early failure of a large industrial gear or shaft in a coal mine or mill could result in lost production and income while the machine is down since replacement components may not be readily available. Fortunately, this scenario is not common. Most reputable gear and shaft manufacturers around the world would never neglect the metallurgical quality of their products.
Effective gear designs balance strength, durability, reliability, size, weight, and cost. Even effective designs, however, can have the possibility of gear cracks due to fatigue. In addition, truly robust designs consider not only crack initiation, but also crack propagation trajectories. As an example, crack trajectories that propagate through the gear tooth are the preferred mode of failure compared to propagation through the gear rim. Rim failure will lead to catastrophic events and should be avoided. Analysis tools that predict crack propagation paths can be a valuable aid to the designer to prevent such catastrophic failures.
This paper proposes a new method — using neural oscillators — for filtering out background vibration noise in meshing plastic gear pairs in the detection of signs of gear failure. In this paper these unnecessary frequency components are eliminated with a feed-forward control system in which the neural oscillator’s synchronization property works. Each neural oscillator is designed to tune the natural frequency to a particular one of the components.
When gears are case-hardened, it is known that some growth and redistribution of stresses that result in geometric distortion will occur. Aerospace gears require post case-hardening grinding of the gear teeth to achieve necessary accuracy. Tempering of the case-hardened surface, commonly known as grinding burn, occurs in the manufacturing process when control of the heat generation at the surface is lost.
I. Inspect failed components as soon as possible. If an early on-site inspection is not possible, someone at the site must preserve the evidence based on your instructions.
This is a three-part article explaining the principles of gear lubrication. It reviews current knowledge of the field of gear tribology and is intended for both gear designers and gear operators. Part 1 classifies gear tooth failures into five modes and explains the factors that a gear designer and operator must consider to avoid gear failures. It defines the nomenclature and gives a list of references for those interested in further research. It also contains an in-depth discussion of the gear tooth failure modes that are influenced by lubrication and gives methods for preventing gear tooth failures.
This article was originally published 20 years ago, in Gear Technology’s first issue. It describes a method of evaluating the smoothness, or lack of smoothness, of gear motion. This lack of smoothness of motion, known as “transmission error,” is responsible for excitation of gear noise and problems of gear accuracy and sometimes has a relationship to gear failure.
There's a reason they call it catastrophic gear failure: For example, if the line goes down at a large aluminum rolling mill because a gear set goes bad, the cost can run up to a whopping $200,000 a week. Even in smaller operations, the numbers alone (not to mention all the other problems) can be a plant manager's worst nightmare.
Myth No. 1: Oil Is Oil. Using the wrong oil is a common cause of gear failure. Gears require lubricants blended specifically for the application. For example, slow-speed spur gears, high-speed helical gears, hypoid gears and worm gears all require different lubricants. Application parameters, such as operating speeds, transmitted loads, temperature extremes and contamination risks, must be considered when choosing an oil. Using the right oil can improve efficiency and extend gear life.
Micropitting, pitting and wear are typical gear failure modes that can occur on the flanks of slowly operated and highly stressed internal gears. However, the calculation methods for the flank load-carrying capacity have mainly been established on the basis of experimental investigations of external gears. This paper describes the design and functionality of the newly developed test rigs for internal gears and shows basic results of the theoretical studies. It furthermore presents basic examples of experimental test results.
Cracks initiated at the surface of case-hardened gears may lead to typical life-limiting fatigue failure modes such as pitting and tooth root breakage. Furthermore, the contact load on the flank surface induces stresses in greater material depth that may lead to crack initiation below the surface if the local material strength is exceeded. Over time the sub-surface crack propagation may lead to gear failure referred to as “tooth flank fracture” (also referred to as “tooth flank breakage”). This paper explains the mechanism of this subsurface fatigue failure mode and its decisive influence factors, and presents an overview of a newly developed calculation model.
A common design goal for gears in helicopter or turboprop power transmission is reduced weight. To help meet this goal, some gear designs use thin rims. Rims that are too thin, however, may lead to bending fatigue problems and cracks. The most common methods of gear design and analysis are based on standards published by the American Gear Manufacturers Association. Included in the standards are rating formulas for gear tooth bending to prevent crack initiation (Ref. 1). These standards can include the effect of rim thickness on tooth bending fatigue (Ref 2.). The standards, however, do not indicate the crack propagation path or the remaining life once a crack has started. Fracture mechanics has developed into a useful discipline for predicting strength and life of cracked structures.
Understanding the morphology of micropitting is critical in determining the root cause of failure. Examples of micropitting in gears and rolling-element bearings are presented to illustrate morphological variations that can occur in practice.
Tiger stripes on a high-speed pinion made of a carburized SAE 9310 steel were investigated. The morphology of the damage was typical of electric discharge damage. The cause of the stripes and potential damage to the gear tooth were analyzed and are presented in this report.
This paper demonstrates an application of the tooth interior fatigue fracture (TIFF) analysis method, as implemented in SMT's MASTA software, in which loaded tooth contact analysis (LTCA) results from a specialized 3-D contact model have been utilized to determine the load boundary conditions for analysis of tooth flank fracture (TFF).
The diagnosis and prevention of gear tooth and bearing wear requires the discovery and understanding of the particular mechanism of wear, which in turn indicates the best method of prevention. Because a gearbox is a tribologically dependent mechanism, some understanding of gear and bearing tribology is essential for this process. Tribology is the general term for the study and practice of lubrication, friction and wear. If tribology is neglected or considered insignificant, poor reliability and short life will result.
This presentation introduces a new procedure that - derived from exact calculations - aids in determining the parameters of the validation testing of spiral bevel and hypoid gears in single-reduction axles.
What follows is Part 2 of a three-part article covering the principles of gear lubrication. Part 2 gives an equation for calculating the lubricant film thickness, which determines whether the gears operate in the boundary, elastohydrodynamic, or full-film lubrication regime. An equation for Blok's flash temperature, which is used for predicting the risk of scuffing, is also given.
If a gear system is run continuously for long periods of time—or if the starting loads are very low and within the normal operating spectrum—the effect of the start-up conditions may often be insignificant in the determination of the life of the gear system. Conversely, if the starting load is significantly higher than any of the normal operating conditions, and the gear system is started and stopped frequently, the start-up load may, depending on its magnitude and frequency, actually be the overriding, limiting design condition.
This article summarizes the use of laboratory fatigue data for bearings and gears coupled with probabilistic life prediction and EHD theories to predict the life and reliability of a commercial turboprop gearbox.
There are great advantages in dry hobbing, not only for friendliness toward the environment, but also for increasing productivity and for decreasing manufacturing cost. Dry hobbing, however, often causes failures in hob cutting edges or problems with the surface quality of gear tooth flanks. These difficulties are not present when hobbing with cutting oil. Pinching and crushing of generated chips between the hob cutting edge and the work gear tooth flank is considered a major cause of those problems.
High speed gearing, operating with low viscosity lubricants, is prone to a failure mode called scoring. In contrast to the classic failure modes, pitting and breakage, which generally take time to develop, scoring occurs early in the operation of a gear set and can be the limiting factor in the gear's power capability.
Some results of evaluation by this method in the automotive industry.
Surface-hardened, sintered powder metal gears are increasingly used in power transmissions to reduce the cost of gear production. One important problem is how to design with surface durability, given the porous nature of sintered gears. Many articles have been written about mechanical characteristics, such as tensile and bending strength, of sintered materials, and it is well-known that the pores existing on and below their surfaces affect their characteristics (Refs. 1-3). Power transmission gears are frequently employed under conditions of high speed and high load, and tooth surfaces are in contact with each other under a sliding-rolling contact condition. Therefore it is necessary to consider not only their mechanical, but also their tribological characteristics when designing sintered gears for surface durability.
Micropitting has become a major concern in certain classes of industrial gear applications, especially wind power and other relatively highly loaded, somewhat slow-speed applications, where carburized gears are used to facilitate maximum load capacity in a compact package. While by itself the appearance of micropitting does not generally cause much perturbation in the overall operation of a gear system, the ultimate consequences of a micropitting failure can, and frequently are, much more catastrophic.
In the 1960's and early 1970's, considerable work was done to identify the various modes of damage that ended the lives of rolling element bearings. A simple summary of all the damage modes that could lead to failure is given in Table 1. In bearing applications that have insufficient or improper lubricant, or have contaminants (water, solid particles) or poor sealing, failure, such as excessive wear or vibration or corrosion, may occur, rather than contact fatigue. Usually other components in the overall system besides bearings also suffer. Over the years, builders of transmissions, axles, and gear boxes that comprise such systems have understood the need to improve the operating environment within such units, so that some system life improvements have taken place.
This is the final part of a three-part series on the basics of gear lubrication. It covers selection of lubricant types and viscosities, the application of lubricants, and a case history
The Integral Temperature Method for the evaluation of the scoring load capacity of gears is described. All necessary equations for the practical application are presented. The limit scoring temperature for any oil can be obtained from a gear scoring test.
A series of bench-top experiments was conducted to determine the effects of metallic debris being dragged through meshing gear teeth. A test rig that is typically used to conduct contact fatigue experiments was used for these tests. Several sizes of drill material, shim stock and pieces of gear teeth were introduced and then driven through the meshing region. The level of torque required to drive the “chip” through the gear mesh was measured. From the data gathered, chip size sufficient to jam the mechanism can be determined.
Gear flank breakage can be observed on edge zone-hardened gears. It occurs, for example, on bevel gears for water turbines, on spur gears for wind energy converters and on single- and double-helical gears for other industrial applications.
While the two have taught a variety of AGMA courses over the years, without question their most popular courses are Gear Failure Analysis (Errichello with longtime colleague Jane Muller) and Gearbox CSI: Forensic Analysis of Gear & Bearing Failures (Drago). Drago currently teaches Manufacturing & Inspection (with AGMA instructor Joseph W. Lenski, Jr.) and Gearbox System Design: The Rest of the Story… Everything but the Gears and Bearings (with AGMA instructor Steve Cymbala) as well.