Influence of surface topography and lubricant design in gear contacts
The purpose of this thesis was to study the influence of manufacturing variations on gear performance. The manufacturing variations inherent in different manufacturing methods were studied to include the effect of real surfaces. Real surfaces have surface irregularities at least on some scale, which can significantly influence how loads are transmitted at the gear contact. To some extent, the lubricant design can help to prevent contact that could lead to tooth failures by forming a protective surface boundary layer. An experimental study was used to consider the compositions of these layers with a surface analysis method.
In Paper A a robust design approach was used to find out to what extent the current standard for calculation of surface durability treats manufacturing variations and the choice of lubricant. The results show that the simplest calculation method used is not enough to predict the effect of these on surface durability. Additionally, the standard quality levels are poorly incorporated in the standard calculating procedures for surface durability, and the quality of the gear tooth is restricted to include only a few parameters.
In Paper B a pin-on-disc machine was used to evaluate the tribofilm formation by the additives and the corresponding wear occurring in the boundary lubrication regime in environmentally adapted lubricants. Studies of the additive and base fluid interaction were carried out using glow discharge-optical emission spectroscopy. It was found that the chemically reacted surface boundary layers played an important role in terms of wear. More specifically, the oxide layer thickness had significant influence on wear. The findings also demonstrate the complexity of lubrication design formulations coupled to these layers. For example, it was found that the pre-existing surface boundary layer (before any lubricant had been added) played an important role in allowing the lubricant to react properly with the surfaces.
The aim of Paper C was to contribute to the knowledge of how different surface topographies, tied to manufacturing methods, influence the early life contact conditions in gears. Topographical measurements of differently manufactured tooth flanks were used as data input to a contact analysis program. The variation in surface topography inherent in the manufacturing method was found to have a strong influence on the contact area ratio.