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Sufficient Conditions for Existence of Envelope E

2 to Contact Lines

Singular points on generated surface Σ2 may form a curve that is the envelope (designated E

2) to the family

of contact lines (characteristics) on Σ2. Envelope E

2 is simultaneously the “edge of regression” of Σ2, which

means that envelope E

2 is simultaneously the common line of two branches of Σ2 determined by the same

equation. If the conditions necessary for the existence of E

2 as an envelope are not satisfied, singular points on

generated surface Σ2 just form an edge of regression.
Sufficient conditions for the existence of E

2 to a family of contact lines on generated surface Σ2 represented
by an implicit function were determined by Favard (1957). In this work, it was proven that envelope E

2 is also

the edge of regression.
Our goal is to present the sufficient conditions for the existence of E

2 to a family of contact lines on generated
surface Σ2 that is determined parametrically by three related parameters. In addition, we will show that E

2, if

it exists, is also the edge of regression.
Sufficient conditions for the existence of E

2 are formulated by the following theorem based on investigations

conducted by Zalgaller (1975), Zalgaller and Litvin (1977), and Litvin (1975).
Theorem. A family of generated surfaces Σφ is considered:

r2( , , ) , ( , ) ,

( . . )

u

C u G a b

θ φ

θ

φ

< <

3

1 7 1

The family Σφ is generated by surface Σ1 represented by

12

NASA RP–1406

r

r r

1( , ) ,

( . . )

u C

u

θ



∂θ

× ≠

3 1 1

0

1 7 2

The following conditions are observed at point M(u

0, θ0, φ0):

f u

u

( , , )

( . . )

( )

θ φ ∂


∂θ

= ×



⋅ =

r r

v

1 1 12

0

1 7 3

g u

f

f

f

u

u

u

u

u

1

1

2

1

1

1 12

1

1

1

2

1

( , , )

( )

θ φ ∂



∂θ



∂θ



∂θ


∂θ

θ

φ

=

⋅( )


r

r r r

v

r r

r

r

v(( )

( . . )

12

0

1 7 4

( )

=

f f

g g

u

u

θ
θ≠ 0

1 7 5
( . . )

H

r r

v

1

12

0

1 7 6

=



∂θ

θ φ

θ φ

1 1

u

f f f

g g g

u

u

( )

( . . )

Thus, the envelope E2 exists locally at point M(u

0, θ0, φ0) and is within the neighborhood of M. Envelope

E2 is a regular curve and is determined by

r r

2 2

0

0

1 7 7

=

=

=

( , , ), ( , , ) , ( , , )

( . . )

u

f u

g u

θ φ

θ φ

θ φ

The tangent to E2 is collinear to tangent T2 to the contact line at point M of the tangency of E2 and T2. Envelope
E2 does not exist if at least one of the inequalities ((1.7.5) and (1.7.6)) is not observed.
The above theorem was applied by F.L. Litvin, A. Egelja, M. De Donno, A. Peng, and A. Wang to determine
the envelopes to the contact lines on the surfaces of various spatial gear drives.

Structure of Curve L on Generated Surface Σ2 Near Envelope E2

We consider curve L on surface Σ2 that starts at point M of envelope E2 to the contact lines. Since M is a
singular point of surface Σ2, the velocity vr(2)

in any direction that differs from the tangent to E2 is equal to zero.
Therefore, we may expect that M is the point of regression. A detailed investigation of the structure of curve
L requires that the Taylor series be applied to prove that M is the point of regression and that envelope E2 is
simultaneously the edge of regression.

Example 1.7.1.The generation of a helical involute gear by a rack-cutter is considered. The approach discussed
above is applied to determine the envelope E2 to the contact lines on the generated screw surface Σ2 and the edge
of regression.

Step 1: We apply coordinate systems S

1, S

2, and S

f that are rigidly connected to the rack-cutter, the gear, and

the frame, respectively (fig. 1.7.1).

NASA RP–1406

13

Step 2: The generating surface is plane Σ1 (fig. 1.7.2). The position vector O M

1 of point M of the generating

plane is

O M O A O B

1

1 1

1 7 8

= +

( . . )

where O A

O B u

1

1

=

=

θ

and

.

Figure 1.7.1.—Coordinate systems applied for gener-
ation of screw involute surface.

x

1

x

f

O

1

x

2

y

1

y

2

y

f

O

2, O

f

r

p

r

p

M

B

A

Figure 1.7.2.—Generating plane: O

1A = and O

1B = u.

z

1

x

1

O

1

y

1

p

t

14

NASA RP–1406

Then, we obtain the following equation for the generating plane Σ1:

r1

1

1 7 9

( , )

cos

sin cos

sin

( . . )

u

u

u

t

t

p

p

θ

θ α
θ α λ
λ

=

+







The normal N

1 to Σ1 is

N r r

1 1 1

1 7 10

= × =







∂θ

α λ
α λ
α λ

u

t p

t p

t p

sin sin

cos sin

cos cos

( . . )

Here, αt is the profile angle of the rack-cutter in the transverse section, and λp is the lead angle on the pitch

cylinder of radius r

p of the helical gear.

Step 3: To derive the equation of meshing, we use the scalar product

N v N v v

1 1

12

1 1

1

1

2

0

1 7 11

⋅ = ⋅(

) =

=

( )

( ) ( )

( , , )

( . . )

f u θ φ

Here (fig. 1.7.1)

v

j

1

1

1 7 12

( )

( . . )

= −rp

v k r

k

1

2

1 1 1 2 1

1 7 13

( )

( . . )

= × + ×

O O

where k1 is the unit vector of the z

1-axis. While deriving equations (1.7.12) and (1.7.13), we have taken

ω = 1 rad/sec.

After transformations, we obtain the equation of meshing

f u

u

r

p t

p

( , , ) cos sin

( . . )

θ φ λ α θ φ

=

+ − = 0

1 7 14

Step 4: The generated surface Σ2, which is the envelope to the family of generating surfaces Σ1, is represented
in coordinate system S

2 by

r

r

2

21 1

1 7 15

( , , ) ( ) ( , )

( . . )

u

u

θ φ φ θ

=M

f u( , , )

( . . )

θ φ = 0

1 7 16

where M21 is the matrix for the coordinate transformation from S

1 to S

2.
Equations (1.7.15) and (1.7.16) parametrically represent Σ2 by three related parameters as

x u

u

r

t

t

p p

2

1 7 17

( , , ) cos cos sin sin cos

cos sin

( . . )

θ φ θ α φ φ θ α λ

φ φ φ

=

+

(

)+

+

(

)

y u

u

r

t

t

p p

2

1 7 18

( , , ) cos sin cos sin cos

sin cos

( . . )

θ φ θ α φ φ θ α λ

φ φ φ

=

+

+

(

)+

(

)

z u u p

2

1 7 19

( ) sin

( . . )

= λ

f u

u

r

p t

p

( , , ) cos sin

( . . )

θ φ λ α θ φ

=

+ − = 0

1 7 20

NASA RP–1406

15

Step 5: Equation (1.7.4) of singularities yields

g u

u

r

r

p t p

t p t

1

0

1 7 21

( , , ) cos cos

cos sin

( . . )

θ φ

λ α φ α

α

= −

+

+

=

Step 6: The conditions for the existence of envelope E2 to contact lines on Σ2 formulated by the above theorem
are satisfied in the case discussed; particularly, there are observed inequalities (1.7.5) and (1.7.6). Therefore,
envelope E2 indeed exists and is determined by

r2

1

0

0

1 7 22

( , , ), ( , , ) , ( , , )

( . . )

u

f u

g u

θ φ

θ φ

θ φ

=

=

Equations (1.7.17) to (1.7.22) yield envelope E2, the helix on the base cylinder of radius r

b, and the lines of

contact, tangents to the helix (fig. 1.7.3(a)) that is represented by

x rb

t

2

1 7 23

=

+

cos( )

( . . )

α φ

y rb t

2

1 7 24

=

+

sin( )

( . . )

α φ

z p

t

2

1 7 25

= +

( tan )

( . . )

φ α

where r

b = r

p cos α

t, the screw parameter p = r

p tan λp.
Two branches of the generated surface are shown in figure 1.7.3(b).

Step 7: The generation of a spur gear may be considered a particular case of the generation of a helical gear by
taking λp = 90°. In such a case, envelope E2 to the contact lines does not exist since inequality (1.7.5) is not
observed. Only the edge of regression exists, as shown in figure 1.7.4.

Figure 1.7.3.—Involute helical gear. (a) Contact lines and envelope to contact lines. (b) Surface

branches.

(b)

Surface branches

r

b

Envelope
to contact
lines

(a)

r

b

Contact lines

16

NASA RP–1406

1.8Necessary and Sufficient Conditions for Existence of Envelope E

1 to

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