Lubricated loaded tooth contact analysis for spur gear pair

Gears are key components to the operation of many machines and mechanisms. However, their presence often affects system efficiency and can lead to noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) issues. Therefore, improved efficiency and NVH refinement are the major drivers in the development of gearing systems. These requirements lead to significant efforts expended in the design of optimised gear pairs and their lubrication. Analytical and numerical gear analysis methods are limited to simplified methods such as dry contact conditions, use of basic classical Hertzian contact theory and finite element analysis in tooth contact analysis (TCA). Thus, the generation of more complex models would represent gear interactions, including lubricated contact analysis more realistically. Tooth Contact Analysis (TCA) is usually the first step for an in-depth; gear efficiency, NVH and durability analysis. Analyses described in open literature study tooth contact neglecting the effect of lubrication. In reality, contact mechanics and lubrication are closely inter-linked, requiring an integrated approach. This paper outlines a combined FEA-based TCA model with a lubricated contact mechanics analysis for real gear pairs, thus improving the prediction of gear pair efficiency, NVH and durability. An initial dry gear analysis with an estimated constant coefficient of friction in the contact is carried out. The results of this initial analysis provide input data for a subsequent tribological model in order to generate improved estimates of the contact friction for a new TCA. This approach leads to the integration of TCA and lubrication in an iterative manner. The gear pair geometry is measured using a Coordinate Measuring Machine (CMM) which takes into account manufacturing imperfections and real geometry within its measurement sensitivity of ±1.5 µm. This data is used in the TCA analysis.