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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 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.
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 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.
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.
News from around the Gear Industry
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.
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.
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.
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.
A look at several American organizations doing cutting edge gear-related research for aerospace applications.
Aerospace/Defense contracts offer unique challenges for gear manufacturers.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.