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Sören Sjöberg

Published: 5 March 2015

Influence of running-in on gear efficiency

The general trend in gear industry is an increased focus on gear transmission efficiency. This thesis focuses on the understanding of how different gear manufacturing methods – particularly the contribution of the running-in process – affect the surface characteristics and friction response, with the purpose of increasing gearbox efficiency. The thesis consists of a summary and five appended papers.

The research hypothesis in paper A and paper B was that the dry elastic contact area ratio is a descriptive parameter for the contact condition. Paper A deals with the influence of manufacturing method on the initial contact conditions. The emphasis in paper B is the changes that occur during running-in and correlating these changes to design requirements. Paper C examines the influence of manganese phosphate coating and lubricants, with respect to friction and the risk of scuffing at the initial contact. Paper D examines the effect of running-in load on the friction response for different surfaces. In paper E, the question of whether the load during running-in influences the gear mesh efficiency is further expounded.

The main conclusions of this thesis are that the running-in influences the gear mesh efficiency; a high running-in load enhances the gear mesh efficiency. The difference in mesh efficiency is in the range of one tenth of a per cent. Thus, the influence of running-in cannot be neglected because it is in the same order of magnitude as reported for other gear efficiency enhancements. Furthermore, the dry elastic contact area ratio presents a descriptive measure of how surface topography influences the contact, at both a global (form deviation) and local (roughness) level. The surface topography caused by the manufacturing method has a significant influence on the contact area ratio. Shaving was found to have the highest contact area ratio, and would therefore be the best choice if deviations from case hardening could be minimised. It was also confirmed that surfaces coated with manganese phosphate raise the limiting load for scuffing failure up to 13 times compared to the uncoated ground equivalent.

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