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Articles About space shuttle safety testing
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Gear specialists at the NASA Glenn Research facility helped determine it was safe for the space shuttle to fly again.
Back in the days when our great, great, great, etc., grandaddies were designing gears, one of the most common materials in use was wood. For fairly obvious reasons, we don't see too many wooden gears around anymore. But there are a few.
A much-used method for checking the tooth thickness of an involute gear tooth is to measure the dimension over two balls placed in most nearly opposite spaces in the case of external gears, and the dimension between the balls in the case of internal gears. This measurement is then checked against a pre-calculated dimension to denote an acceptable part.
The concept of "transmission error" is relatively new and stems from research work in the late 1950s by Gregory, Harris and Munro,(1) together with the need to check the accuracy of gear cutting machines. The corresponding commercial "single flank" testing equipment became available in the 1960s, but it was not until about ten years ago that it became generally used, and only recently has it been possible to test reliably at full load and full speed.
Runout is a troublemaker! Good shop practice for the manufacture or inspection of gears requires the control of runout. Runout is a characteristic of gear quality that results in an effective center distance variation. As long as the runout doesn't cause loss of backlash, it won't hurt the function of the gear, which is to transmit smooth motion under load from one shaft to another. However, runout does result in accumulated pitch variation, and this causes non-uniform motion, which does affect the function of the gears. Runout is a radial phenomenon, while accumulated pitch variation is a tangential characteristic that causes transmission error. Gears function tangentially. It is also possible to have a gear with accumulated pitch variation, but little or no runout.
Joe Arvin comments on his recent trip to Scandinavia and how U.S. defense dollars are being spent overseas. J.D. Smith responds to an article on gear noise from the previous issue.
This method of testing large gearboxes or, indeed, any power transmission element, had numerous advantages and offers the possibility of large savings in time, energy, and plant, if the overall situation is conducive to its use. This usually requires that several such units need to be tested, and that they can be conveniently connected to each to each other in such a way as to form a closed-loop drive train. No power sink is required, and the drive input system has only to make up power losses. The level of circulating power is controlled by the torque, which is applied statically during rotation, and the drive speed. Principles, advantage, and limitations are described, together with recent experiences in the only known large-scale usage of this technique in Australia.
Anyone involved in the design, manufacture and use of gears is concerned with three general characteristics relative to their application: noise, accuracy, and strength or surface durability. In the article, we will be dealing with probably the most aggravating of the group, gear noise.
Bringing new or improved products to market sooner has long been proven profitable for companies. One way to help shorten the time-to-market is to accelerate validation testing. That is, shorten the test time required to validate a new or improved product.
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.
Presumably, everyone who would be interested in this subject is already somewhat familiar with testing of gears by traditional means. Three types of gear inspection are in common use: 1) measurement of gear elements and relationships, 2) tooth contact pattern checks and 3) rolling composite checks. Single Flank testing falls into this last category, as does the more familiar Double Flank test.
It was very interesting to see Robert Smith's article on single-flank testing of gears...
Today, as part of filling a typical gear hobbing or shaping machine order, engineers are required to perform an SPC acceptance test. This SPC test, while it is contractually necessary for machine acceptance, is not a machine acceptance test. It is a process capability test. It is an acceptance of the machine, cutting tool, workholding fixture, and workpiece as integrated on the cutting machine, using a gear measuring machine, with its work arbor and evaluation software, to measure the acceptance elements of the workpiece.
The most conclusive test of bevel and hypoid gears is their operation under normal running conditions in their final mountings. Testing not only maintains quality and uniformity during manufacture, but also determines if the gears will be satisfactory for their intended applications.
Question: What is functional measurement and what is the best method for getting truthful answers?
Part I of this paper describes the theory behind double-flank composite inspection, detailing the apparatus used, the various measurements that can be achieved using it, the calculations involved and their interpretation. Part II, which will appear in the next issue, includes a discussion of the practical application of double-flank composite inspection, especially for large-volume operations. Part II covers statistical techniques that can be used in conjunction with double-flank composite inspection, as well as an in-depth analysis of gage R&R for this technique.
This back-to-basics article describes the main methods used for hardness testing of gears: Rockwell, Brinell, Vickers and Knoop.
Part I of this paper, which appeared in the January/February issue of Gear Technology, described the theory behind double-flank composite inspection. It detailed the apparatus used, the various measurements that can be achieved using it, the calculations involved and their interpretation. The concluding Part II presents a discussion of the practical application of double-flank composite inspection -- especially for large-volume operations. It also addresses statistical techniques that can be used in conjunction with double-flank composite inspection, as well as an in-depth analysis of gage R&R for this technique.
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.
I have heard that X-ray diffraction does not tell the whole story and that I should really run a fatigue test. I understand this may be the best way, but is there another method that gives a high degree of confidence in the residual stress measurement?
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.
An overview of nondestructive testing and its importance in the manufacture of big gears.
Nondestructive examination (NDE) of ferrous and nonferrous materials has long proved an effective maintenance and anomaly characterization tool for many industries. Recent research has expanded its applicability to include the inspection of large, open gear drives. Difficulties inherent in other NDE methods make them time-consuming and labor-intensive. They also present the user with the environmental problem of the disposal of used oil. The eddy current method addresses these problems.
simplified equations for backlash and roll test center distance are derived. Unknown errors in measured tooth thickness are investigate. Master gear design is outlined, and an alternative to the master gear method is described. Defects in the test radius method are enumerated. Procedures for calculating backlash and for preventing significant errors in measurement are presented.
During the last decade, industrial gear manufacturers, particularly in Europe, began to require documentation of micropitting performance before approving a gear oil for use in their equipment. The development of micropitting resistant lubricants has been limited both by a lack of understanding of the mechanism by which certain lubricant chemistry promotes micropitting and by a lack of readily available testing for evaluation of the micropitting resistance of lubricants. This paper reports results of two types of testing: (1) the use of a roller disk machine to conduct small scale laboratory studies of the effects of individual additives and combinations of additives on micropitting and (2) a helical gear test used to study micropitting performance of formulated gear oils.
Gear pitting is one of the primary failure modes of automotive transmission gear sets. Over the past years, many alternatives have been intended to improve their gear surface durability. However, due to the nature of new process development, it takes a length of time and joint efforts between the development team and suppliers to investigate and verify each new approach.
The purpose of this paper was to verify, when using an oil debris sensor, that accumulated mass predicts gear pitting damage and to identify a method to set threshold limits for damaged gears.
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.
This paper presents the results of research directed at measuring the total stress in a pair of statically loaded and carburized spur gears. Measurements were made to examine the change in total stress as a function of externally applied load and depth below the surface.
Undue vibrations, power spikes and grit give NASA pause.
Aerospace manufacturing has seen quite a turnaround in the past few years. The world's manufacturers of airplanes, helicopters, missiles, space vehicles and satellites are all extremely busy right now--and that's keeping quite a few gear manufacturers busy as well.
Today’s ever-evolving global economic engine is, in many ways, a wonderful phenomenon; you know—a rising-tide-lifting-all-boats, trickle-down-theory-of-economics dynamic at work.
Gears with an asymmetric involute gear tooth form were analyzed to determine their bending and contact stresses relative to symmetric involute gear tooth designs, which are representative of helicopter main-drive gears.
In the August 2008 issue of Gear Technology, we ran a story (“Gearbox Speed Reducer Helps Fan Technology for ‘Greener” Jet Fuel Efficiency’) on the then ongoing, extremely challenging and protracted development of Pratt & Whitney’s geared turbofan (GTF) jet engine.
Much has happened since we last reported on the malfunctioning solar array rotary joint (SARJ) attached to the International Space Station. Space shuttle Endeavour dropped in for a two-week visit in November during which repairs were made and invaluable data collected.
The seemingly simple process of placing a uniform chamfer on the face ends of spur and helical gears, at least for the aerospace industry, has never been a satisfactory or cost effective process.
The objective of this paper is to demonstrate that transmission gears of rotary-wing aircraft, which are typically scrapped due to minor foreign object damage (FOD) and grey staining, can be repaired and re-used with signifi cant cost avoidance. The isotropic superfinishing (ISF) process is used to repair the gear by removing surface damage. It has been demonstrated in this project that this surface damage can be removed while maintaining OEM specifications on gear size, geometry and metallurgy. Further, scrap CH-46 mix box spur pinions, repaired by the ISF process, were subjected to gear tooth strength and durability testing, and their performance compared with or exceeded that of new spur pinions procured from an approved Navy vendor. This clearly demonstrates the feasibility of the repair and re-use of precision transmission gears.
An experimental effort has been conducted on an aerospace-quality helical gear train to investigate the thermal behavior of the gear system as many important operational conditions were varied.
Aerospace/Defense contracts offer unique challenges for gear manufacturers.
A look at several American organizations doing cutting edge gear-related research for aerospace applications.
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.
Spur gear endurance tests were conducted to investigate the surface pitting fatigue life of noninvolute gears with low numbers of teeth and low contact ratios for the use in advanced application. The results were compared with those for a standard involute design with a low number of teeth. The gear pitch diameter was 8.89 cm (3.50 in.) with 12 teeth on both gear designs. Test conditions were an oil inlet temperature of 320 K (116 degrees F), a maximum Hertz stress of 1.49 GPa (216 ksi), and a speed of 10,000 rpm. The following results were obtained: The noninvolute gear had a surface pitting fatigue life approximately 1.6 times that of the standard involute gear of a similar design. The surface pitting fatigue life of the 3.43-pitch AISI 8620 noninvolute gear was approximately equal to the surface pitting fatigue life of an 8-pitch, 28-tooth AISI 9310 gear at the same load, but at a considerably higher maximum Hertz stress.
The design of any gearing system is a difficult, multifaceted process. When the system includes bevel gearing, the process is further complicated by the complex nature of the bevel gears themselves. In most cases, the design is based on an evaluation of the ratio required for the gear set, the overall envelope geometry, and the calculation of bending and contact stresses for the gear set to determine its load capacity. There are, however, a great many other parameters which must be addressed if the resultant gear system is to be truly optimum. A considerable body of data related to the optimal design of bevel gears has been developed by the aerospace gear design community in general and by the helicopter community in particular. This article provides a summary of just a few design guidelines based on these data in an effort to provide some guidance in the design of bevel gearing so that maximum capacity may be obtained. The following factors, which may not normally be considered in the usual design practice, are presented and discussed in outline form: Integrated gear/shaft/bearing systems Effects of rim thickness on gear tooth stresses Resonant response
Questions: I have heard the terms "safety factor," "service factor," and "application factor" used in discussing gear design. what are these factors an dhow do they differ from one another? Why are they important?
News from around the Gear Industry
A single tooth bending (STB) test procedure has been developed to optimally map gear design parameters. Also, a test program on case-carburized, aerospace standard gears has been conceived and performed in order to appreciate the influence of various technological parameters on fatigue resistance and to draw the curve shape up to the gigacycle region.
Much of the information in this article has been extracted from an AGMA Technical Paper, "What Single Flank Testing Can Do For You", presented in 1984 by the author
This paper presents the results of a study performed to measure the change in residual stress that results from the finish grinding of carburized gears. Residual stresses were measured in five gears using the x-ray diffraction equipment in the Large Specimen Residual Stress Facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
Oil-out conditions, or conditions in which an aircraft is operating without any oil in its gearbox or transmission, are devastating for an aircraft's hardware. Even the sturdiest gears usually can’t last 30 minutes under such conditions before they catastrophically fail, and the whole system usually follows shortly after. That doesn’t leave pilots with a whole lot of time to find a suitable location to land in the case of an oil-out emergency.
This work establishes a baseline for aerospace spur gear behavior under oil-off conditions. The collected test results document a different oil-off time, dictated by material used.
A major source of helicopter cabin noise (which has been measured at over 100 decibels sound pressure level) is the gear box. Reduction of this noise is a NASA and U.S. Army goal.
A major source of helicopter cabin noise (which has been measured at over 100 decibels sound pressure level) is the gearbox. Reduction of this noise is a NASA and U.S. Army goal. A requirement for the Army/NASA Advanced Rotorcraft Transmission project was a 10 dB noise reduction compared to current designs.
Carbon steels have primarily been used to manufacture aerospace gears due to the steels' mechanical characteristics. An alloyed low carbon steel is easily case-hardened to obtain a hard wear surface while maintaining the ductile core characteristics. The microstructure achieved will accept the heavy loading, shocks, and elevated temperatures that gears typically experience in applications. The carbon steel machinability allows for general machining practices to be employed when producing aerospace gears versus the more advanced metal removal processes required by stainless and nickel-based alloys.
Over the past few months we've talked with a lot of gear manufacturers. Many of them tell us business is strong, while others are struggling with reduced demand. The difference between them isn't so much in the quality of their manufacturing operations, but rather trends in the end markets they serve.
This paper presents a new approach in roll testing technology of spiral bevel and hypoid gear sets on a CNC roll tester applying analytical tools, such as vibration noise and single-flank testing technology.