Isothermal elastohydrodynamic lubrication analysis of heavily loaded hypoid gear pairs

A numerical model able to predict the pressure distribution and the film thickness in heavily loaded elliptical EHL contacts is developed and presented in this study. The operating conditions, such as the contact load and the velocities of the mating surfaces, are representative of the corresponding conditions present in automotive differential hypoid gear pair units. The EHL solver presented is able to predict the minimum and central film thickness of the lubricating oil as well as the pressure distribution assuming isothermal and Newtonian conditions. Results are presented for a full quasi-static meshing cycle. A comparison between the numerically calculated values of the central and the minimum film thickness is performed against the corresponding values produced using the Chittenden-Dowson formula. A very good agreement is observed between the values of the central film thickness. However, it is shown that the minimum film thickness values using the Chittenden-Dowson formula can deviate up to 40% compared with the corresponding values which are calculated numerically.