Influence of tooth root cracks on the mesh stiffness of asymmetric spur gear pair with different backup ratios

Dogan O., Kalay O. C. , KARPAT F.



Gears are critical machine elements that transmit power and motion in diverse implementation fields. Over time, gears may produce a series of faults due to harsh operating conditions, fatigue, manufacturing errors, etc., leading to severe performance degradation. During the meshing process, the stiffness of a single tooth controls the load sharing, vibration, and noise characteristics of a geared system. An undetected fault could decrease the gear stiffness and thus may lead to a fatal breakdown, substantial economic losses, or even human casualties in safety-critical applications such as helicopters, high-speed trains, and wind turbines. Hence, the accurate quantification of the gear stiffness emerges as an important research area to obtain reliable gear designs. With this in mind, the asymmetric tooth concept offers superior bending strength, fatigue propagation life, and the ability to lessen vibration over the standard (symmetric) designs in applications where unidirectional loadings are predominant. This study investigates the influence of tooth root cracks on the single-tooth and meshing stiffness characteristics of the standard and asymmetric involute spur gears. To this end, the numerical crack propagation paths obtained in our previous works were introduced to the created 3D CAD geometries. Subsequently, the single tooth stiffness of both healthy and cracked (2 5%-50%-75%100%) gears was calculated through the ANSYS (R) Workbench, and the time-varying mesh stiffness was obtained. The present study evaluated the effects of backup ratio and the tooth asymmetry on the spur gears' meshing stiffness characteristics simultaneously and further expanded the scope of the research work. The results indicated that the single tooth stiffness and mesh stiffness could be improved by 35% and 22%, respectively, as the drive side pressure angle increased from 20 degrees to 35 degrees. It has been noted that the gear stiffness decreased as the crack level increased, while the increment of the backup ratio further increased the reduction in the stiffness. The findings could provide significant outputs for a better understanding of the influence of tooth asymmetry on the gear dynamics characteristics, life prediction, and early fault diagnosis.