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This paper addresses the lubrication of helical gears — especially those factors influencing lubricant film thickness and pressure. Contact between gear teeth is protected by the elastohydrodynamic lubrication (EHL) mechanism that occurs between nonconforming contact when pressure is high enough to cause large increases in lubricant viscosity due to the pressure-viscosity effect, and changes of component shape due to elastic deflection. Acting together, these effects lead to oil films that are stiff enough to separate the contacting surfaces and thus prevent significant metal-to-metal contact occurring in a well-designed gear pair.
Aircraft transmissions for helicopters, turboprops and geared turbofan aircraft require high reliability and provide several thousand hours of operation between overhauls. In addition, They should be lightweight and have very high efficiency to minimize operating costs for the aircraft.
This review of elastohydrodynamic lubrication (EHL) was derived from many excellent sources (Refs. 1–5). The review of Blok’s flash temperature theory was derived from his publications (Refs. 6–9). An excellent general reference on all aspects of tribology is the Encyclopedia of Tribology (Ref. 10).
Mineral-oil-base lubricants show a significant decrease of kinematic viscosity with rising temperature, as exemplified in Figure 1 by lubricants for vehicle gears. An important attribute of lubricants is their viscosity index (VI), according to DIN/ISO 2909 (Ref. 4). Viscosity index is a calculated coefficient, which characterizes the change of viscosity of lubricants as a function of temperature. A high viscosity index represents a low variation of viscosity due to temperature and vice versa. A low viscosity-temperature-dependence is required for lubricants that are operated at significantly varying temperature conditions, such as vehicle engine and gear lubricants in summer and winter time. This way, the oils remain flowing and pumpable at low temperatures on the one hand; and on the other hand, sufficiently thick lubricant films can be formed at higher temperatures for a safe separation of the surfaces.
News Items About EHL
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