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What gear material is suitable for high-temperature (350 – 550 degree C), high-vacuum, clean-environment use?
Much of the existing guidelines for making large, high-performance gears for wind turbine gearboxes exhibit a need for improvement. Consider: the large grinding stock used to compensate for heat treatment distortion can significantly reduce manufacturing productivity; and, materials and manufacturing processes are two other promising avenues to improvement. The work presented here investigates quenchable alloy steels that, combined with specifically developed Case-hardening and heat treatment processes, exhibits reduced distortion and, in turn, requires a smaller grinding stock.
The palette of thermoplastic materials for gears has grown rapidly, as have the applications themselves. Designers need to be aware of key properties and attributes in selecting the right material.
Hoechst Technical Polymers has expanded its interests in plastic gears with the introduction of the new Plastic Gear Evaluation and Research machine P-Gear. The machine is the centerpiece of the company's continuing efforts to promote and develop the use of plastic gears in higher-powered applications.
Technology investments lead to product innovation at gear materials suppliers.
Plastics as gear materials represent an interesting development for gearing because they offer high strength-to-weight ratios, ease of manufacture and excellent tribological properties (Refs. 1-7). In particular, there is a sound prospect that plastic gears can be applied for power transmission of up to 10 kW (Ref. 6).
Induction hardening is a heat treating technique that can be used to selectively harden portions of a gear, such as the flanks, roots and tips of teeth, providing improved hardness, wear resistance, and contact fatigue strength without affecting the metallurgy of the core and other parts of the component that don’t require change. This article provides an overview of the process and special considerations for heat treating gears. Part I covers gear materials, desired microsctructure, coil design and tooth-by-tooth induction hardening.
Advancements in machining and assembly techniques of thermoplastic gearing along with new design data has lead to increased useage of polymeric materials. information on state of the art methods in fabrication of plastic gearing is presented and the importance of a proper backlash allowance at installation is discussed. Under controlled conditions, cast nylon gears show 8-14 dBA. lower noise level than three other gear materials tested.
Part I, which was published in the September/October 2008 issue, covered gear materials, desired microstructure, coil design and tooth-by-tooth induction hardening. Part II covers spin hardening and various heating concepts used with it.
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.
Ausforming, the plastic deformation of heat treatment steels in their metastable, austentic condition, was shown several decades ago to lead to quenched and tempered steels that were harder, tougher and more durable under fatigue-type loading than conventionally heat-treated steels. To circumvent the large forces required to ausform entire components such as gears, cams and bearings, the ausforming process imparts added mechanical strength and durability only to those contact surfaces that are critically loaded. The ausrolling process, as utilized for finishing the loaded surfaces of machine elements, imparts high quality surface texture and geometry control. The near-net-shape geometry and surface topography of the machine elements must be controlled to be compatible with the network dimensional finish and the rolling die design requirements (Ref. 1).
Plastic gears are serious alternatives to traditional metal gears in a wide variety of applications. The use of plastic gears has expanded from low-power, precision motion transmission into more demanding power transmission applications. As designers push the limits of acceptable plastic gear applications, more is learned about the behavior of plastics in gearing and how to take advantage of their unique characteristics.
Can my metal gear(s) be replaced with plastic gears?
If someone were to tell you that he had a gear material that was stronger per pound than aluminum, as wear-resistant as steel, easier to machine than free-machining steel and capable of producing gears domestically for 20% less than those now cut from foreign made forgings, would you consider that material to be "high tech"? Probably. Well, throw out all the pre-conceived notions that you may have had about "high tech" materials. The high-performance material they didn't teach you about in school is austempered ductile iron (ADI).
This paper presents an original method for computing the loaded mechanical behavior of fiber reinforced polymer gears. Although thermoplastic gears are unsuitable for application transmitting high torque, adding fibers can significantly increase their performance. The particular case of polyamide 6 + 30% glass fibers is studied in this paper.
This paper introduces mandatory improvements in design, manufacturing and inspection - from material elaboration to final machining - with special focus on today's large and powerful gearing.
The manufacturing process to produce a gear essentially consist of: material selection, blank preshaping, tooth shaping, heat treatment, and final shaping. Only by carefully integrating of the various operations into a complete manufacturing system can an optimum gear be obtained. The final application of the gear will determine what strength characteristics will be required which subsequently determine the material and heat treatments.
The performance of carburized components can be improved simply by changing the alloy content of the steel.
Corus Engineering Steels' formula for its new gear steels: Maintain achievable hardness while using fewer alloys, thereby cutting steel costs for gear manufacturers.
Austempering heat treatments (austenitizing followed by rapid cooling to the tempering temperature) have been applied to nodular irons on an experimental basis for a number of years, but commercial interest in the process has only recently come to the surface.
Gear designs are evolving at an ever accelerating rate, and gear manufacturers need to better understand how the choice of materials and heat treating methods can optimize mechanical properties, balance overall cost and extend service life.
Hobs, broaches, shaper cutters, shaver cutters, milling cutters, and bevel cutters used in the manufacture of gears are commonly made of high speed steel. These specialized gear cutting tools often require properties, such as toughness or manufacturability, that are difficult to achieve with carbide, despite the developments in carbide cutting tools for end mills, milling cutters, and tool inserts.
The quality of molded plastic gears is typically judged by dimensional feature measurements only. This practice overlooks potential deficiencies in the molding process.
QuesTek Innovations LLC is applying its Materials by Design computational design technology to develop a new class of high-strength, secondary hardening gear steels that are optimized for high-temperature, low-pressure (i.e., vacuum) carburization. The new alloys offer three different levels of case hardness (with the ability to “dial-in” hardness profiles, including exceptionally high case hardness), and their high core strength, toughness and other properties offer the potential to reduce drivetrain weight or increase power density relative to incumbent alloys such as AISI 9310 or Pyrowear Alloy 53.
Plane strain fracture toughness of twelve high-carbon steels has been evaluated to study the influence of alloying elements, carbon content and retained austenite. The steels were especially designed to simulate the carburized case microstructure of commonly used automotive type gear steels. Results show that a small variation in carbon can influence the K IC significantly. The beneficial effect of retained austenite depends both on its amount and distribution. The alloy effect, particularly nickel, becomes significant only after the alloy content exceeds a minimum amount. Small amounts of boron also appear beneficial.
This paper addresses Austempered Ductile Iron (ADI) as an emerging Itechnology and defines its challenge by describing the state-of-the-art of incumbent materials. The writing is more philosophical in nature than technical and is presented to establish a perspective.
New material technology allows for more efficient and flexible hobbing.
This paper shows an experimental study on the fatigue lifetime of high-heat polyamide (Stanyl) gears running in oil at 140°C. Based on previous works (Refs. 1–2), an analysis is made correcting for tooth bending and calculating actual root stresses. A comparison with tensile bar fatigue data for the same materials at 140°C shows that a good correlation exists between gear fatigue data and tensile bar fatigue data. This insight provides a solid basis for gear designers to design plastic gears using actual material data.
How do we know when the gear material we buy is metallurgically correct? How can we judge material quality when all gear material looks alike?