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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.
Undue vibrations, power spikes and grit give NASA pause.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Gear specialists at the NASA Glenn Research facility helped determine it was safe for the space shuttle to fly again.
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.
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.
Aerospace/Defense contracts offer unique challenges for gear manufacturers.
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.
A look at several American organizations doing cutting edge gear-related research for aerospace applications.
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.
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.
NASA is now 3-D-printing spare parts up at the ISS (International Space Station). And in zero-gravity environments. And some of these parts are small gears and actuators, for starters. Every indication is that the list of power transmission-type parts to be converted will soon grow.
For more than 10 months, NASA ground engineers and International Space Station (ISS) astronauts have been struggling with a perplexing malfunction of one of the station’s two solar array rotary joints (SARJ).