Effect of Rim Thickness on Gear Crack Propagation Path

[+] Author and Article Information
D. G. Lewicki

Vehicle Propulsion Directorate, U.S. Army Research Laboratory, NASA Lewis Research Center, Cleveland, OH

R. Ballarini

Department of Civil Engineering and Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH

J. Mech. Des 119(1), 88-95 (Mar 01, 1997) (8 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2828793 History: Received June 01, 1995; Revised June 01, 1996; Online January 18, 2008


Analytical and experimental studies were performed to investigate the effect of rim thickness on gear tooth crack propagation. The goal was to determine whether cracks grew through gear teeth or through gear rims for various rim thicknesses. A finite element based computer program (FRANC, FRacture ANalysis Code) simulated gear tooth crack propagation. The analysis used principles of linear elastic fracture mechanics. Quarter-point, triangular elements were used at the crack tip to represent the stress singularity. The program had an automated crack propagation option in which cracks were grown numerically using an automated re-meshing scheme. Crack tip stress intensity factors were estimated to determine crack propagation direction. Gears with various backup ratios (rim thickness divided by tooth height) were tested to validate crack path predictions. Gear bending fatigue tests were performed in a spur gear fatigue rig. From both predictions and tests, gears with backup ratios of 3.3 and 1.0 produced tooth fractures while a backup ratio of 0.3 produced rim fractures. For a backup ratio of 0.5, the experiments produced rim fractures and the predictions produced both rim and tooth fractures, depending on the initial geometry of the crack.

Copyright © 1997 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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