Flank Load Carrying Capacity and Power Loss Reduction by Minimized Lubrication


The lubrication of gears has two major functions: Reducing friction and wear as well as dissipating heat. The power losses, especially the no-load losses, decrease with decreasing immersion depth using dip lubrication. The load-dependent gear power losses are nearly unaffected by minimized lubrication. However, the gear bulk temperatures rise dramatically by using minimized lubrication due to a lack of heat dissipation.
With minimized lubrication the scuffing load carrying capacity decreased by up to more than60%compared to rich lubrication conditions. The dominating influence of the bulk temperature is therefore very clear. Starved lubrication leads to more frequent metal - to contact and the generation of high local flash temperatures must be considered. An additional factor for the scuffing load carrying capacity calculation in case of minimized lubrication conditions is proposed.
Concerning pitting damage test runs showed that by lowering the oil level the load cycles without pitting damage decreased by approximately 50% up to 75% for minimized lubrication compared to the results with rich lubrication conditions. The allowable contact stress is clearly reduced (up to 30%) by minimized lubrication. A reduced oil film thickness as a consequence of increased bulk temperatures results in more frequent metal-to-metal contacts causing a higher surface shear stress. In combination with a decreased material strength due to a possible tempering effect at high bulk temperatures the failure risk of pitting damage is clearly increased. The common pitting load carrying capacity calculation algorithms according to DIN/ISO are only valid for moderate oil temperatures and rich lubrication conditions. For increased thermal conditions, the reduction of the pitting endurance level at increased gear bulk temperatures can be approximated with the method of Knauer (FZG TU München, 1988). An advanced calculation algorithm for pitting load carrying capacity calculation at high gear bulk temperatures (valid for high oil temperatures as well as for minimized lubrication) is proposed.
The micropitting risk was increased by low oil levels, especially at high loads and during the endurance test. The micropitting damage is caused by poor lubrication conditions which are characterized by a too low relative oil film thickness due to high bulk temperatures. Again, the actual bulk temperatures are of major significance for calculation of the micropitting load carrying capacity.
The wear rate of the gears is almost unaffected by the oil level. Only a slight increase of wear could be observed with minimized lubrication. This increase can be explained by the higher bulk temperature of the gears running under minimized lubrication conditions. The investigations showed that there exists a natural limitation for lowering the oil quantity in transmissions without detrimental influence on the load carrying capacity. Knowing these limitations enables the user to determine the possible potential benefits of reduced oil lubrication. The correct prediction of the actual gear bulk temperatures is of major importance in this context. A method for the estimation of the gear bulk temperature at reduced immersion depth respectively poor lubrication conditions is proposed.
ISBN: 978-1-55589-987-5 Pages: 15 Authors: B.-R. Höhn, K. Michaelis and H.-P. Otto
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