Ellen Bergseth (KTH)

Published: 18 October 2012

On tribological design in gear tooth contacts

The correct tribological design will have a considerable effect on a gear’s service life and efficiency. The purpose of this thesis is to clarify the impact of variation in the gear tooth flank tribological system on the gear contact load capacity – to increase the understanding of how surface topography and lubricant interact.

In this thesis the variation in surface topography inherent in the manufacturing method has been shown, by experimental work and computer simulations, to be an important factor for the contact condition in the early life of gears. Surface analysis revealed that the formation and composition of surface boundary layers depends strongly on the chemical composition of the lubricant, but also on pre-existing surface boundary layers. Additionally, surface boundary layers play a major role in frictional behaviour, wear and in allowing the lubricant to react properly with the surfaces.

Paper A presents the current ISO 6336 calculation of surface durability. A robust design approach was used to investigate the extent to which the current standard for calculation of surface durability allows for manufacturing variations and the choice of lubricant.

Paper B investigates the extent to which a logarithmical profile modification can increase gear contact pressure robustness compared to traditional lead profiles for gears.

Paper C compares different gear manufacturing methods and their as-manufactured (fresh unworn) surface topographies, using measured surface topographies as input to a contact simulation program.

Paper D examines surface boundary layer formation and the corresponding wear in relation to different anti-wear additives in an environmentally adapted base oil.

Papers E and F make use of specimens with surface topographies imitating two gear manufacturing methods (grinding and superfinishing) to be used in a twin-disc and barrel-on-disc machine respectively. The contacts are analysed by friction measurements and simulations combined with methods for surface analysis.

Read the thesis