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This paper presents an approach that provides optimization of both gearbox kinematic arrangement and gear tooth geometry to achieve a high-density gear transmission. It introduces dimensionless gearbox volume functions that can be minimized by the internal gear ratio optimization. Different gearbox arrangements are analyzed to define a minimum of the volume functions. Application of asymmetric gear tooth profiles for power density maximization is also considered.
The increasing demands in the automotive industry for weight reduction, fuel efficiency and a reduced carbon footprint need to be addressed urgently. Up until now, widely used conventional steels have lived up to expectations. However, with more stringent emissions standards, demands on materials are increasing. Materials are expected to perform better, resulting in a need for increased fatigue strength. A possibility to increase torque on current generations without design changes can be achieved by selecting suitable materials.
Designers are constantly searching for ways to reduce rotocraft drive system weight. Reduced weight can increase the payload, performance, or power density of current and future systems. One example of helicopter transmission weight reduction was initiated as part of the United States Army Advanced Rotocraft Transmission program. This example used a split-torque, face-gear configuration concept (Ref. 1). compared to a conventional design with spiral-bevel gears, the split-torque, face-gear design showed substantial weight savings benefits. Also, the use of face gears allows a wide-range of possible configurations with technical and economic benefits (Ref. 2).
Multiple possibilities are available to increase the transmissible power of girth gears. These solutions include: using a larger module, increasing of the gear diameter through the number of teeth, enlarging the face width, and increasing the hardness of the base material. The first three parameters are mostly limited by cutting machine capability. Module, outside diameter, and face width (for a cast gear) can theoretically be increased to infinity, but not the cutting machine dimensions. There are also practical limits with respect to the installation of very large diameter/large face width gears.
When a gear set is to be designed for a new application, the minimum size gears with the required capacity are desired. These gears must be capable of meeting the power, speed, ratio, life, and reliability requirements.