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**contact/impact analysis of gear drives
**

Tengjiao Lin

a

, H. Ou

b,

*

, Runfang Li

a

a

State Key Lab of Mechanical Transmission, Chongqing University, Chongqing 400044, PR China

b

School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast BT9 5AH, UK

Received 11 May 2005; received in revised form 13 September 2006; accepted 20 September 2006

Abstract

In this paper, an approach for mesh generation of gear drives at any meshing position is presented and an automatic modeling pro-

gram for tooth mesh analysis is developed. Based on the derivation of a ﬂexibility matrix equation in the contact region, a ﬁnite element

method for 3D contact/impact problem is proposed. Using this method, tooth load distribution and mesh stiﬀness results are derived

under static loading during meshing process. This method is also used to simulate the gear behavior under dynamic loading conditions.

The dynamic responses of the gear drives are obtained under the conditions of both the initial speed and the sudden load being applied.

The inﬂuence of the backlash on impact characteristics of the meshing teeth is analyzed.

Ó 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Gear drive; Impact; Dynamic response; Contact problem; Finite element method

1. Introduction

Gear drives transmit motion and power by tooth mesh.

Mostly in the form of involute proﬁles, gear tooth mesh is a

complex process involving, e.g. multi-tooth engagement,

multi-point contact and varying load conditions. To

achieve improved static and dynamic characteristics of gear

drives and enhanced load carrying capacity and reliability,

accurate determination of the tooth load distribution, mesh

stiﬀness as well as the deformation and stress of tooth face

is an important part in gear drive design. Owing to the

manufacturing and assembly errors and elastic deforma-

tion of loaded gears, vibration and noise are generated par-

ticularly during the approach and recess of the tooth

meshing. Backlash causes intermittent impact to the mesh-

ing gears. The mesh impact is also present when the gear

drive is under the conditions of the sudden loading and

change of speed. Such mesh impact caused by the backlash

and due to the approach and recess of tooth meshing has a

detrimental eﬀect on dynamic characteristics of a gear

system.

In recent years the research on the static and dynamic

contact problems of gear drives has been reported by many

researchers. Gosselin et al. [1] analyzed the contact stress

and displacement of the line contact condition in spur gears

and the point contact condition in bevel gears by ﬁnite ele-

ment method in comparison with the results from analyti-

cal formulations. Litvin et al. [2] developed computer

programs that integrate computerized design, tooth con-

tact analysis and automatic modeling and ﬁnite element

simulation of a new type of helical gear drives. The same

approach has been applied by Litvin and his colleagues

to many other forms of face gears, which result in signiﬁ-

cant weight reduction used in helicopter transmissions [3–

6]. Similar approaches have been used to carry out tooth

contact analysis and stress analysis of gear drives by Braucr

[7], Zanzi and Pedrero [8] and Guingand et al. [9]. Pimsarn

and Kazerounian [10] presented a new pseudo-interference

0045-7825/$ - see front matter Ó 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

doi:10.1016/j.cma.2006.09.014

*

Corresponding author. Tel.: +44 28 9097 4102; fax: +44 28 9066 1729.

E-mail address: h.ou@qub.ac.uk (H. Ou).

www.elsevier.com/locate/cma

Comput. Methods Appl. Mech. Engrg. 196 (2007) 1716–1728

stiﬀness estimation method to evaluate the equivalent mesh

stiﬀness and the mesh load in a gear system. The results

showed a good agreement between the proposed mesh stiﬀ-

ness method and ﬁnite element contact analysis.

There has been ongoing interest on ﬁnite element based

computational methods for dynamic contact problems [11–

17]. Diﬀerent formulations have been developed to solve

the diﬀerential equations of motion of frictional dynamic

contact/impact problems and corresponding procedures

are veriﬁed to a number of benchmark problems such as

the contact of two elastic rods or wheels. Little research

has been reported on ﬁnite element based methods to inves-

tigate the dynamic contact/impact problems of gear drives.

Bajer and Demkowicz [18] developed a method to simulate

a general class of dynamic contact/impact problems for

systems such as gear drives with the consideration of

momentum and total energy. Based on the proposed for-

mulation, they developed a 2D parallel ﬁnite element sim-

ulator to calculate the dynamic stresses of a planetary gear

train. Whilst this is a new step for dynamic modeling of

complex mechanical systems such as gear drives, it is

worthwhile to investigate the detailed dynamic behavior

of gear drives under the conditions such as impact loading,

change of speed and the eﬀect of backlash.

In recent years, we have been working on ﬁnite element

based methods for dynamic contact/impact problems and

particularly their applications to gear drives [19–21]. The

focus of the work has been on the development of eﬃcient

approaches for mesh generation of diﬀerent tooth proﬁles

and the prediction of dynamic contact/impact behaviors

of gear drives under certain loading and initial conditions.

This paper outlines our recent work on this subject. In the

following sections, the basic theory used for mesh genera-

tion of gear drives is ﬁrst presented with an example given.

This is followed by the ﬁnite element formulation of static

and dynamic contact/impact problems for gear drives. To

verify the method and the program developed, a bench-

mark problem is evaluated. Finally detailed results and

evaluation of the dynamic contact/impact behaviors of

both a spur and a helical gear drives are presented. The

conclusions are given at the end of the paper.

2. Mesh generation of gear drives

Fig. 1 shows the global coordinate system yoz and the

rotational coordinate system y

1

o

1

z

1

, on which the centers

of shafts for the pinion and the gear are at points O

1

and

O, respectively. The tooth position shown in the yoz coor-

dinate system is the original position for generating tooth

face proﬁles. The mesh generation method for each tooth

pair at certain rotational positions is presented as follows

[20].

2.1. Mesh generation of tooth end face

The mesh position of the pitch point is assumed to be

the initial position of the meshing gears. When the pinion

rotates an angle of w, the pressure angles of contact points

for the pinion and the gear can be expressed as

a

c1

= arctg(tga

/

t

÷w);

a

c2

= arctg[(N

1

N

2

÷ r

b1

tga

c1

)=r

b2

[;

_

(1)

where a

/

t

is the meshing angle. N

1

N

2

is the length of mesh-

ing line. r

b1

and r

b2

are the base radii of the pinion and the

gear, respectively.

In the geometry of two meshing gears, the involute

equation on the end face of teeth can be given by

x

i0

= 0;

y

i0

= r

bk

cos k

i

= cos a

i

z

i0

= ÷r

bk

sin k

i

= cos a

i

;

_

¸

_

¸

_

(k = 1; 2); (2)

where x

i0

, y

i0

, z

i0

are the coordinates of the discrete node i

on the tooth surface. a

i

and k

i

are the pressure angle and

the central semiangle of node i on the tooth surface,

respectively.

2.2. Mesh generation of tooth width

The mesh discretization process on the tooth width may

be divided into two parts. The discrete nodes along tooth

width in the non-contact region are uniformly distributed,

and the x-coordinates of discrete nodes in the contact

region may be determined by the coordinates of the tooth

end face. The involute ﬂank of helical gears and its inter-

secting line are illustrated in Fig. 2. Point C is the intersect-

ing point of contact line KK

/

and certain cross-section S

along the tooth width.

Let a

k

be the pressure angle at the start point of the con-

tact line. a

c

is the pressure angle at discrete node C and b

b

is

the helix angle of the base circle. The x-coordinate of node

C can be given as follows:

x

c

= AN

2

(CB ÷ KN

2

)=KN

2

= r

b2

(tga

c

÷ tga

k

)=tgb

b

; (3)

where KN

2

= r

b2

tga

k

, CB = r

b2

tga

c

, AN

2

= r

b2

tga

k

/tgb

b

.

Hence the coordinates of discrete nodes of each cross-

section on the tooth width can be obtained

1

a

1 a

r

1 b

r

1

r′

1

N

2

N

1

O

O

2

r′

2 b

r

a2

r

α′

2 1

,

c c

α α

y

1

y

1

z z

λ

T

Fig. 1. Global and rotational coordinate systems of a gear train.

T. Lin et al. / Comput. Methods Appl. Mech. Engrg. 196 (2007) 1716–1728 1717

x

i

= x

c

;

y

i

= y

i0

cos h

k

÷ z

i0

sin h

k

;

z

i

= ÷y

i0

sin h

k

÷ z

i0

cos h

k

;

_

¸

_

¸

_

(4)

where h

k

is the turn angle between the cross-section S and

the tooth end face

h

k

= ÷x

i

tgb

b

=r

bk

(k = 1; 2):

2.3. Mesh generation of tooth root ﬁllet

Rack cutter and wheel cutter are common gear cutting

tools. If a rack cutter such as hobbing cutter is adopted,

the tooth root curve is the equidistant line of the prolate

involute as shown in Fig. 3.

For the rack cutter with two round edges, the machining

parameters of the tool are deﬁned by

a = h

+

at

m

t

÷ c

+

t

m

t

÷ r

o

;

b = pm

t

=4 ÷ h

+

at

m

t

tga

t

÷ r

o

cos a

t

;

r

o

= c

+

t

m

t

=(1 ÷ sin a

t

):

_

¸

_

¸

_

(5)

For the rack cutter with only a single round edge, the

machining parameters of the tool can be deﬁned by

a = h

+

at

m

t

÷ c

+

t

m

t

÷ r

o

;

b = pm

t

=2;

r

o

= (pm

t

÷ 4h

+

at

m

t

tga

t

)=(4 cos a

t

);

_

¸

_

¸

_

(6)

where r

o

is the radius of the tool. h

+

at

and c

+

t

are the adden-

dum coeﬃcient and radial clearance coeﬃcient. x

t

is a mod-

iﬁcation coeﬃcient. m

t

and a

t

are the transverse module

and pressure angle of the gears, respectively.

The equation for the root curve on the end face can be

written as

x

i0

= 0;

y

i0

= r

p

cos u

i

÷

a

1

sin a

/

ti

÷ r

o

_ _

sin(a

/

ti

÷ u

i

);

z

i0

= ÷r

p

sin u

i

÷

a

1

sin a

/

ti

÷ r

o

_ _

cos(a

/

ti

÷u

i

);

_

¸

¸

¸

¸

¸

_

¸

¸

¸

¸

¸

_

(7)

where r

p

is the pitch radius of gear; a

/

ti

is a parameter be-

tween a

t

and 90°.

a

1

= a ÷ x

t

m

t

; u

i

= (a

1

ctga

/

ti

÷ b)=r:

If a wheel cutter such as slotting cutter is adopted, the

tooth root curve will be the equidistant line of the prolate

epicycloid as shown in Fig. 4.

For the wheel cutter with two round edges, the machin-

ing parameters of the tool are deﬁned by

r

o

=

c

+

t

m

t

1 ÷ sin a

ac

;

O

c

C

o

= r

c

÷ h

+

at

m

t

÷ c

+

t

m

t

÷ r

o

;

b

/

=

p

2z

c

÷ (inva

ac

÷ inva

t

) ÷ sin

÷1

r

o

cos a

ac

O

c

C

o

:

_

¸

¸

¸

¸

_

¸

¸

¸

¸

_

(8)

For the wheel cutter with a single round edge, the machin-

ing parameters of tool can be deﬁned by

2

N′

K′

B

1

o

1

N

2

N

1

N′

C K

b

β

2

o

involute flank

base cylinder B1

base cylinder B2

A

x

y

z

Fig. 2. Contact line of meshing gears.

rϕ

t t

m x

t

α ′

0

r 0

c

P

1

a

b

pitch circle of gear

z

y o

p

r

n

−ϕ ′ = α γ

t

a

pitch line of tool

n

ϕ

Fig. 3. Tooth root ﬁllet generated by rack cutter.

t

α ′

pc

r

0

r

0

c

P

pitch circle of tool

c

o

n

n

z

y

− ′ =

t

′

t

t

p

r

o

ϕ α γ

ϕ

β

β

Fig. 4. Tooth root ﬁllet generated by wheel cutter.

1718 T. Lin et al. / Comput. Methods Appl. Mech. Engrg. 196 (2007) 1716–1728

r

o

=

r

ac

tgh

a

cos a

ac

÷ sin a

ac

tgh

a

;

c

+

t

m

t

= r

o

÷ r

ac

tgh

a

tg(a

ac

÷ h

a

) ÷

r

ac

cos a

ac

(1= cos h

a

÷ 1)

cos(a

ac

÷ h

a

)

;

O

c

C

o

= r

c

÷ h

+

at

m

t

÷ c

+

t

m

t

÷ r

o

;

b

/

=

p

z

c

;

_

¸

¸

¸

¸

¸

¸

¸

¸

¸

_

¸

¸

¸

¸

¸

¸

¸

¸

¸

_

(9)

where r

o

, z

c

and r

c

are the radius, number of teeth and ref-

erence radius of the tool, respectively. r

ac

and a

ac

are the ra-

dius and the pressure angle of the addendum circle of the

tool.

h

a

= p=2z

c

÷ (inva

ac

÷inva):

The equation of the root curve on the end face can be writ-

ten as

x

i0

= 0;

y

i0

= r

p

cos u

i

÷

rpc sin b

i

cos(a

/

ti

÷b

i

)

÷ r

o

_ _

sin(a

/

ti

÷ u

i

);

z

i0

= ÷r

p

sin u

i

÷

rpc sin b

i

cos(a

/

ti

÷b

i

)

÷ r

o

_ _

cos(a

/

ti

÷ u

i

);

_

¸

¸

¸

_

¸

¸

¸

_

(10)

where a

p

is the engagement angle of the slotting cutter.

a

/

ti

is a parameter between a

p

and 90°.

u

i

=

z

c

z

(b

i

÷ b

/

);

b

i

= cos

÷1

r

pc

÷

ﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ

r

2

pc

÷ r

2

pc

sec

2

a

/

ti

÷ sec

2

a

/

ti

tg

2

a

/

ti

O

c

C

o

2

_

O

c

C

o

sec

2

a

/

ti

:

2.4. Mesh adjustment

Using the above method, the discrete coordinates of the

pinion and the gear are generated at their original positions

as shown in Fig. 1. It is necessary to transform the discrete

coordinates of the pinion and gear to their meshing posi-

tions. The transformation equations for the pinion coordi-

nates may be given by

x

i

y

i

z

i

_

¸

_

¸

_

_

¸

_

¸

_

=

1 0 0

0 cos h

1

÷sin h

1

0 sin h

1

cos h

1

_

¸

_

_

¸

_

x

i1

y

i1

z

i1

_

¸

_

¸

_

_

¸

_

¸

_

÷

0

0

a

1

_

¸

_

¸

_

_

¸

_

¸

_

: (11)

The transformation equations for gear coordinates can be

written as

x

i

y

i

z

i

_

¸

_

¸

_

_

¸

_

¸

_

=

1 0 0

0 cos h

2

÷sin h

2

0 sin h

2

cos h

2

_

¸

_

_

¸

_

x

i2

y

i2

z

i2

_

¸

_

¸

_

_

¸

_

¸

_

; (12)

where a

1

is the center distance between the meshing gears.

x

i1

, y

i1

and z

i1

are the coordinates of the pinion at its origi-

nal position, and x

i2

, y

i2

and z

i2

are the coordinates of the

gear at its original position.

h

1

= 3p=2 ÷ (p=2 ÷2x

1

tga

t

)=z

1

÷ tga

t

÷ a

t

÷ tga

c1

÷ a

/

t

;

h

2

= p=2 ÷ (p=2 ÷2x

2

tga

t

)=z

2

÷ tga

t

÷ a

t

÷ tga

c2

÷ a

/

t

:

2.5. Boundary conditions

For the static contact analysis of gears, the ﬁxed dis-

placement constraint is applied on the boundary surface

of the gear and the radial constraint is deﬁned on the

boundary surface of the pinion. A tangential distributed

load is applied uniformly on the pinion surface as shown

in Fig. 5. The distributed forces applied on the pinion

can be obtained by

q =

T

r

s

l

s

b

; (13)

Fig. 5. Boundary constraint and load condition of gears.

Table 1

Geometric parameters of the helical gear drive

Geometric parameters Pinion Gear

Normal module, m

n

3.5 mm 3.5 mm

Number of teeth, Z 44 88

Normal pressure angle, a

n

20° 20°

Helix angle, b 13.5° 13.5°

Face width, b 50 mm 50 mm

Fig. 6. Computation model of the helical gear drive. (a) Solid model and

(b) ﬁnite element mesh.

T. Lin et al. / Comput. Methods Appl. Mech. Engrg. 196 (2007) 1716–1728 1719

where T is the torque applied on the surface of the pinion.

r

s

and l

s

denote the radius and the arc length of the loaded

surface of the pinion, respectively. b is the tooth width.

2.6. Numerical example

An automatic mesh generation procedure for gear drives

is developed. As an example, the geometric parameters of a

helical gear drive are shown in Table 1. Fig. 6a shows the

solid model of the helical gear drive and the ﬁnite element

mesh for dynamic contact/impact analysis is illustrated in

Fig. 6b.

3. Governing equations of contact/impact problems

3.1. Flexibility matrix equation of contact region

The dynamic contact model of two bodies is shown in

Fig. 7, in which O-xyz is the global coordinate system

and o-nts is the local coordinate system deﬁned only on

the local contact surface, where subscript n refers to the

normal direction to the contact surface and subscripts t, s

refer to the two tangential directions on the contact

surface. Assume that N is the matrix of shape functions

and u

e(t)

, v

e(t)

and a

e(t)

are the vectors of nodal displace-

ment, velocity and acceleration at time (t), respectively.

The displacement, velocity and acceleration ﬁelds can be

described as

u

(t)

= Nu

e(t)

;

v

(t)

= Nv

e(t)

= N _ u

e(t)

;

a

(t)

= Na

e(t)

= N€u

e(t)

;

_

¸

_

¸

_

(14)

where _ u

e(t)

; €u

e(t)

are the ﬁrst and second derivatives of

the nodal displacement vector.

Employing the principle of virtual work incorporating

the inertia and damping forces as a part of the total exter-

nal forces, the d’Alembert principle of the dynamic contact

problem of two bodies may be derived as follows [22]:

m

i

a

i(t)

÷ c

i

v

i(t)

÷ k

i

u

i(t)

= p

i(t)

÷ R

i(t)

(i ÷ X

1

; X

2

); (15)

where m

i

, c

i

, k

i

are the mass, damping and stiﬀness matrices

of the two bodies, respectively. p

i(t)

, R

i(t)

are the applied

load vector and the contact force vector of the two bodies.

u

i(t)

, v

i(t)

, a

i(t)

are the displacement, velocity and accelera-

tion vectors of the two bodies, respectively.

The Newmark direct integration method is adopted to

solve Eq. (15). In this method, it is assumed that

v

(t÷Dt)

= v

(t)

÷ [(1 ÷ d)a

(t)

÷da

(t÷Dt)

[Dt; (16)

u

(t÷Dt)

= u

(t)

÷ v

(t)

Dt ÷

1

2

÷ a

_ _

a

(t)

÷aa

(t÷Dt)

_ _

Dt

2

; (17)

where a and d are adjustable parameters depending on

the integration accuracy and stability. When a P

0.25(0.5 + d)

2

and d P0.5, it is conﬁrmed that the New-

mark method has unconditional stability [11,21]. a = 0.25

and d = 0.5 are used in this research. Substituting Eqs.

(16) and (17) into Eq. (15) forms the eﬀective stiﬀness ma-

trix equation of the dynamic contact/impact bodies, in

which only displacement vector u

i(t+Dt)

are present in the

equation and needs to be solved, i.e.

~

k

i

u

i(t÷Dt)

= ~p

i(t÷Dt)

÷ R

i(t÷Dt)

(i ÷ X

1

; X

2

); (18)

where

~

k

i

and ~p

i(t÷Dt)

are the eﬀective stiﬀness matrix and

equivalent load vector, respectively.

~

k

i

= k

i

÷

1

aDt

2

m

i

÷

d

aDt

c

i

; (19)

~p

i(t÷Dt)

= p

i(t÷Dt)

÷ m

i

1

aDt

2

u

i(t)

÷

1

aDt

v

i(t)

÷

1

2a

÷ 1

_ _

a

i(t)

_ _

÷ c

i

d

aDt

u

i(t)

÷

d

a

÷ 1

_ _

v

i(t)

÷

d

2a

÷1

_ _

a

i(t)

Dt

_ _

:

(20)

Due to the fact that the contact problem of gear drives

involves only a very small region in contact between the

pinion and the gear during the meshing process, the com-

putational iterations are far from eﬃcient if the iterations

are carried out by solving Eq. (18). Instead a condensation

of Eq. (18) in the contact region of the meshing teeth is

conducted using a modiﬁed Cholesky factorization ap-

proach. Hence the eﬀective ﬂexibility equation on the con-

tact surface of the two contact bodies can be derived as

follows:

~

f R

(t)

= ÷

¯

S

p(t)

÷ e

0

; (21)

where

~

f is the eﬀective ﬂexibility matrix;

¯

S

p(t)

is the relative

displacement vector caused by equivalent applied load ~p

i(t)

on the contact surface; e

0

is the vector of the initial gap be-

tween contact node pairs.

To solve the dynamic contact/impact problems, the con-

tact force vector R

(t)

is obtained by Eq. (21) in each step of

time integration. Then the displacements, velocities and

accelerations of the two bodies are computed using Eqs.

(18), (16) and (17), accordingly.

For static contact problems of two bodies, one of the

contact bodies, e.g. X

1

in Fig. 7, may not have suﬃcient

constraints. Thus the rigid body displacement vector u

r1

of body X

1

is considered to be unknown and the rigid body

motion and force equilibrium equations are used to solve

the rigid body displacement vector. The rigid body motion

equation of body X

1

is given as

) (t p

1

Ω

) (t R s

n

t 2

Ω

z

O

y

x

) (t R

o

Fig. 7. Dynamic contact model of two bodies.

1720 T. Lin et al. / Comput. Methods Appl. Mech. Engrg. 196 (2007) 1716–1728

u

i1

= u

01

÷ x × r; (22)

where u

i1

is the displacement at any nodal position of body

X

1

due to rigid body motion; x and r are angular displace-

ment and position vectors of body X

1

, respectively. The

force and moment equilibrium equations of body X

1

can

be written as

i÷X

1

(p

i

÷ R

i

) = 0;

i÷X

1

[M

0

1

(p

i

) ÷ M

0

1

(R

i

)[ = 0;

_

¸

¸

_

¸

¸

_

(23)

where M

0

1

(p

i

) and M

0

1

(R

i

) are moment vectors of the

external and contact force components of body X

1

,

respectively.

Thus the expanded form of the eﬀective ﬂexibility matrix

Eq. (21) is given as follows:

~

f ÷f

d

f

e

0

_ _

R

u

r1

_ _

=

÷

¯

S

p

÷ e

0

p

r1

_ _

; (24)

where f

d

and f

e

are the transformation matrices due to the

rigid body motion and force equilibrium of body X

1

,

respectively; p

r1

is a force component vector of body X

1

.

Depending upon the constraint condition of body X

1

of

the contact problem, displacement components of the re-

quired degrees of freedom at certain positions of body X

1

are used to form the rigid body displacement vector u

r1

.

For the gear drive case that the gear is fully constrained

and the pinion has only one rotational degree of freedom

under torque T as shown in Fig. 1, one additional angular

displacement about O

1

and one force equilibrium equation

are added in Eq. (24). Therefore the same procedure for

solving the ﬂexibility matrix Eq. (21) in the contact region

and the global stiﬀness matrix equation may be applied for

the static contact problems.

3.2. Treatment of impenetrability condition

To implement the impenetrability condition in contact

region, three possible contact conditions are deﬁned as

stick, sliding and separation. In the stick condition, a con-

tact nodal pair has no relative motion in both the normal

and tangential directions in the local coordinate system

(o-nts) on the contact surface, i.e. the contact nodal pair

sticks together. In the sliding condition, relative motion is

allowed only in the tangential direction between the pair

of contact nodes while the stick condition remains in the

normal direction. The separation condition indicates that

the pair of contact nodes is separate. Using the Coulomb’s

friction model for the sliding condition, the impenetrability

condition for the three contact conditions may be devel-

oped as given in Table 2.

To ensure the correct impenetrability condition in solv-

ing Eq. (21) and to accommodate possible changes of con-

tact conditions in time integration, a set of criteria are

introduced as given in Table 3. As shown in the table for

an existing contact condition, a new contact condition

may be reached by evaluating the relative displacement

and contact force components in a contact nodal pair in

the local coordinate system (o-nts). Thus the converged

solution on the contact surface may be obtained quickly

by alternating and solving the ﬂexibility matrix equation

of the contact region, i.e. Eq. (21). As the eﬀective ﬂexibility

matrix

~

f is derived by the assumption of the stick condition

for all the contact pairs of a contact/impact problem, the

alternation of Eq. (21) is straightforward as given by

(25)

where i, j, k are contact node pairs corresponding to the

contact conditions of stick, sliding and separation,

respectively.

3.3. Velocity and acceleration correction of intermittent

contact/impact

Since the Newmark direct integration method is pro-

posed for the continua of bodies of the contact/impact

problem, the velocities and accelerations of the contact

bodies are computed with the step-forward time integra-

tion using Eqs. (16) and (17). However, at the instance of

initial impact or release of contact, the direct integration

scheme for the velocity and acceleration results is no

longer valid due to the discontinuity of the contact pressure

and velocity as demonstrated in [11,14]. Hughes et al.

Table 2

Impenetrability conditions of contact nodal pairs

Contact

condition

Impenetrability conditions

Stick d

¯

R

k1(t)

= ÷d

¯

R

k2(t)

= d

¯

R

k(t)

; d~u

k2(t)

÷d~u

k1(t)

÷~e

k

= 0

(k = n; t; s)

Sliding d

¯

R

n1(t)

= ÷d

¯

R

n2(t)

= d

¯

R

n(t)

; d~u

n2(t)

÷d~u

n1(t)

÷~e

n

= 0

d

¯

R

t1(t)

= ÷d

¯

R

t2(t)

= l sin h

s

[d

¯

R

n(t)

[; d~u

t2(t)

÷d~u

t1(t)

= d

~

l

t(t)

d

¯

R

s1(t)

= ÷d

¯

R

s2(t)

= l cos h

s

[d

¯

R

n(t)

[; d~u

s2(t)

÷d~u

s1(t)

= d

~

l

s(t)

Separation d

¯

R

k1(t)

= ÷d

¯

R

k2(t)

= 0; d~u

k2(t)

÷d~u

k1(t)

= d

~

l

k(t)

(k = n; s; t)

d

¯

R

k1(t)

; d

¯

R

k2(t)

; d~u

k1(t)

and d~u

k2(t)

(k = n, s, t) are the increment of the

contact force and displacement of two bodies in the k direction of the

local coordinate system (o-nts); ~e

k

(k = n; s; t) is the initial gap of the con-

tact node pairs in the k direction; l is the friction coeﬃcient; h

s

is the

angle between the sliding direction and the coordinate direction s;

d

~

l

k(t)

(k = n; s; t) is the gap increment of contact node pairs in the coor-

dinate direction k.

T. Lin et al. / Comput. Methods Appl. Mech. Engrg. 196 (2007) 1716–1728 1721

developed a correction approach using a local wave

propagation analysis [11] and Taylor and Papadopoulos

developed a method for a priori satisfaction of the impene-

trability constraint and its rate forms by means of a Larg-

range multiplier formulation [14], whilst Chen and Yeh

proposed a set of correction formulas for velocity and accel-

eration based on the concept of equivalent nodal forces and

the area weighting factor of the contact element [13].

In this research, a similar approach to [13] is employed

for the correction of the velocity and acceleration at the

instance of initial impact and release of contact in the con-

tact region. The only simpliﬁcation for the gear drive case

is that the density and the depth of the contact element are

the same for both the pinion and the gear. Assume v

÷

i(t÷Dt)

and a

÷

i(t÷Dt)

(i = 1; 2) are the velocity and acceleration of

the two bodies after correction. The superscripts n and t

denote the normal and tangential directions in the local

coordinate system (o-nts) for the nodes in the contact

region. If the current contact condition is stick, the correc-

tions of velocity and acceleration at the instant of contact

between the two bodies may be given by

v

÷

i(t÷Dt)

=

1

2

(v

1(t÷Dt)

÷ v

2(t÷Dt)

);

a

÷

i(t÷Dt)

=

1

2

(a

1(t÷Dt)

÷ a

2(t÷Dt)

):

_

(26)

When the current contact condition is sliding, the following

corrections may be used:

v

n÷

i(t÷Dt)

=

1

2

(v

n

1(t÷Dt)

÷ v

n

2(t÷Dt)

);

v

t÷

i(t÷Dt)

= v

t

i(t÷Dt)

÷ l (v

n÷

1(t÷Dt)

÷ v

n

1(t÷Dt)

);

a

n÷

i(t÷Dt)

=

1

2

(a

n

1(t÷Dt)

÷ a

n

2(t÷Dt)

);

a

t÷

i(t÷Dt)

= a

t

i(t÷Dt)

÷ l (a

n÷

1(t÷Dt)

÷ a

n

1(t÷Dt)

):

_

¸

¸

¸

¸

_

¸

¸

¸

¸

_

(27)

At the instant of separation or release of contact between

two bodies, the formulas of the correction are given by

v

÷

i(t÷Dt)

= v

i(t÷Dt)

÷

(÷1)

i

2

(v

1(t÷Dt)

÷ v

2(t÷Dt)

);

a

÷

i(t÷Dt)

= a

i(t÷Dt)

÷

(÷1)

i

2

(a

1(t÷Dt)

÷ a

2(t÷Dt)

):

_

_

_

(28)

Therefore in the iterative computation of the gear drive

contact/impact problem, the contact conditions, i.e. stick,

sliding or separation, are detected using the criteria in

Table 3. Necessary changes of the eﬀective ﬂexibility matrix

Eq. (21) are made according to the criteria of impenetrabil-

ity conditions as given in Table 2. As the iterative compu-

tation of Eq. (21) in the contact region is also part of the

direct integration, in each time step the criteria of contact

conditions in Table 3 are used to check whether initial im-

pact or release of contact takes place in each contact nodal

pair. If such a condition of initial impact or release of con-

tact is detected the above correction formulas for the veloc-

ity and acceleration are used accordingly. Otherwise the

normal direct integration is performed for the rest of the

contact bodies.

3.4. Numerical example of dynamic contact/impact problem

In order to verify the proposed method, simulation of a

benchmark problem considering the center-to-center colli-

sion between two identical elastic bars is performed as

shown in Fig. 8. The time step is Dt = 2 · 10

÷7

s.

The impact time and contact pressure of two identical

bars can be expressed as [23]

t =

2l

c

w

;

r =

1

2

qc

w

v

0

;

_

¸

¸

_

¸

¸

_

(29)

where l is the length of the bars. c

w

is the velocity of elastic

wave, c

w

=

ﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ

E=q

_

. Using Eq. (29) the impact time and con-

Table 3

Criteria for the change of contact conditions

Contact conditions Criteria for the change of contact conditions

Present Updated

Stick Separation

¯

R

n1(t)

> 0

Stick

¯

R

n1(t)

6 0;

ﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ

¯

R

2

t1(t)

÷

¯

R

2

s1(t)

_

6 l[

¯

R

n1(t)

[

Sliding

¯

R

n1(t)

6 0;

ﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ

¯

R

2

t1(t)

÷

¯

R

2

s1(t)

_

> l[

¯

R

n1(t)

[

Sliding Separation

¯

R

n1(t)

> 0

Stick

¯

R

n1(t)

6 0; d

¯

R

t1(t)

d

~

l

t(t)

< 0; d

¯

R

s1(t)

d

~

l

s(t)

< 0

Sliding

¯

R

n1(t)

6 0; d

¯

R

t1(t)

d

~

l

t(t)

P0 or d

¯

R

s1(t)

d

~

l

s(t)

P0

Separation Separation d~u

n2(t)

÷d~u

n1(t)

÷~e

n

> 0

Stick d~u

n2(t)

÷d~u

n1(t)

÷~e

n

6 0

m/s 0 . 1

0

= V

m 1 . 0

m 01 . 0

m 1 . 0

m 01 . 0

Poisson’s ratio

Young’s Modulus

Density

0 = ν

2 11

N/m 10 1 . 2 × = E

3 3

kg/m 10 8 . 7 × = ρ

Fig. 8. Finite element model of two bars with initial velocity.

1722 T. Lin et al. / Comput. Methods Appl. Mech. Engrg. 196 (2007) 1716–1728

tact pressure may be calculated to be t = 38.54 ls and

r = 20.24 MPa.

A comparison of the analytical and numerical solution

to the time history of the normal contact pressure and

velocity on the contact surface are shown in Figs. 9 and

10, where the solid lines represent the numerical results

and the dashed lines represent the analytical solution. It

can be seen that a good agreement of the two solutions is

obtained. Fig. 11 shows the time history of the normal dis-

placement on the contact surface.

4. Contact stress and mesh stiﬀness of helical gear drive

Determination of load distribution along the tooth

width during meshing process is a basis for gear drive

design. Due to the assumptions and simpliﬁcations made,

it is diﬃcult to accurately predict the load distribution

and contact stresses using conventional methods. On the

contrary, the load distribution and contact stresses can be

accurately predicted using the ﬁnite element method for

contact problems with proper deﬁnition of gear geometry,

loading and boundary conditions.

In this paper, a helical gear drive is considered with a

1500 N m torque applied on the pinion. For the static con-

tact analysis of the gear drive, ﬁxed displacement con-

straints are applied to the bottom surface of the gear.

The ﬁnite element mesh is shown in Fig. 6. As can be seen

from the ﬁgure, three pairs of teeth are engaged at the mesh

position. Fig. 12 shows the contact force distributions

along the face width. It is apparent that the middle tooth

(tooth 2) takes most of loading and the maximum contact

force appears close to one end of the gear. However, the

maximum von Mises stress as shown in Fig. 13 is at the

tip of tooth 3 on the right. This suggests that tooth proﬁle

modiﬁcation is needed in order to reduce the peak stress

level.

The mesh stiﬀness is deﬁned as the value of the applied

load that can generate 1 lm deformation on 1 mm face

width while a pair of teeth or several pairs of teeth are

engaged. Assume that the number of teeth is n and the

deformations of the pinion and gear teeth are d

pi

(i = 1, . . . , n) and d

gi

(i = 1, . . . , n), respectively. The mesh

stiﬀness can be given as follows:

C =

n

i=1

F

i

d

pi

÷ d

gi

: (30)

Time t (µs)

V

e

l

o

c

i

t

y

v

(

m

m

/

s

)

Numerical solution

Analytical solution

-500

-250

0

250

500

750

1000

1250

1500

0 120 100 80 60 40 20 140

Fig. 10. Time history of normal velocity.

Time t (µs)

D

i

s

p

l

a

c

e

m

e

n

t

(

µ

m

)

0

20

40

60

80

100

120

0 120 100 80 60 40 20 140

δ

Fig. 11. Time history of normal displacement.

0

30

60

90

120

150

180

210

240

270

300

0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50

C

o

n

t

a

c

t

f

o

r

c

e

F

(

N

/

m

m

)

Face width b (mm)

Tooth 2

Tooth 3

Tooth 1

Fig. 12. Distribution curve of tooth contact force while three teeth is

meshing.

Fig. 13. The von Mises stress of the gear.

0

0

5

10

15

20

25

120 100 80 60 40 20 140

Time t (µs)

C

o

n

t

a

c

t

p

r

e

s

s

u

r

e

σ

(

M

P

a

)

Numerical solution

Analytical solution

Fig. 9. Time history of dynamic contact pressure.

T. Lin et al. / Comput. Methods Appl. Mech. Engrg. 196 (2007) 1716–1728 1723

Therefore the variations of contact pressure and mesh stiﬀ-

ness during the whole meshing process can be calculated

using the ﬁnite element method developed in this research.

For the helical gear drive as shown in Table 1, there are

two possible meshing conditions of either two or three

pairs of teeth engaged. Each tooth pair rotates an angle

of 22.7° from the tooth root to tip and the contact forces

of each tooth pair during the meshing process is shown

in Fig. 14.

The mesh stiﬀness curve of the gear drive is shown in

Fig. 15. The mesh stiﬀness varies in the range from 17 N/

mm lm to 19 N/mm lm dependent upon whether two or

three tooth pairs are engaged.

The mesh stiﬀness C

/

can be approximately determined

by the conventional formula as given by [24]

q = 0:04723 ÷

0:15551

Z

V 1

÷

0:25791

Z

V 2

; (31)

C

/

=

1

q

cos a

n

cos b =

cos 20

·

cos 13:5

·

0:05317

; (32)

where Z

V1

and Z

V2

are the equivalent number of teeth of

the pinion and the gear, respectively. With the given values

of Z

V1

= 47.854 and Z

V2

= 95.717 in this gear train, the

mesh stiﬀness is calculated to be C

/

= 17.2 (N/mm lm).

Therefore the mesh stiﬀness results are in good agreement

using the conventional and the ﬁnite element methods.

5. Impact characteristics of gear drives

The phenomenon of initial speed impact occurs when

there is a sudden change of the rotating speed in a gear

drive and another important consideration in gear design

and dynamics is the situation of sudden loading to a gear

system. To investigate the dynamic behavior of a gear sys-

tem under the both conditions, a spur gear and a helical

gear drives are investigated in this research. The parame-

ters of the helical gear drive are given in Table 1. For the

spur gear case, all gear parameters are the same with an

exception of a zero helix angle being deﬁned, i.e. b = 0°.

5.1. Initial speed impact

For the initial speed impact problem, it is assumed that

the gear is fully constrained and it is meshed with the pin-

ion, which has initial rotating speeds of n

1

= 500 rpm and

n

2

= 1000 rpm, respectively. Using the developed ﬁnite ele-

ment method for contact/impact problems, the dynamic

responses of both the spur gear and the helical gear drives

are obtained. Fig. 16a and b compare the results of the

total contact forces under diﬀerent initial rotating speeds

of the pinion and between the two gear types.

It is apparent that the impact time is independent of the

initial speed, and the total contact force is directly propor-

tional to the initial speeds of the pinion. Due to the gradual

engagement of the tooth pairs and longer distance on the

line of contact in the helical gear drive, smaller values of

the total contact forces are predicted when the same rotat-

0

2

4

6

8

10

12

14

0 3 6 9 12 15 18 21 24

Tooth 1

Tooth 2 Tooth 3 Tooth 4

Tooth 5

Angle of rotation θ (

o

)

C

o

n

t

a

c

t

f

o

r

c

e

F

(

k

N

)

Fig. 14. Contact force curve of each tooth pair during meshing process.

0

3

6

9

12

15

18

21

0 3 6 9 12 15 18 21 24

M

e

s

h

i

n

g

s

t

i

f

f

n

e

s

s

C

(

N

/

m

m

)

Angle of rotation θ (

o

)

m

µ

.

Fig. 15. Mesh stiﬀness curve of gear during meshing process.

0

20

40

60

80

100

120

140

r/min 1000

2

= n

r/min 500

1

= n

Time t (µs)

T

o

t

a

l

c

o

n

t

a

c

t

f

o

r

c

e

F

n

(

k

N

)

0

20

40

60

80

100

120

140

0 3 6 9 12 15 18 21 24 27

r/min 1000

2

= n

r/min 500

1

= n

Time t ( µs)

T

o

t

a

l

c

o

n

t

a

c

t

f

o

r

c

e

F

n

(

k

N

)

0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22

Fig. 16. Total contact forces under initial speed with displacement constraint. (a) Spur gear and (b) helical gear.

1724 T. Lin et al. / Comput. Methods Appl. Mech. Engrg. 196 (2007) 1716–1728

ing speed of the pinion is assumed as shown in Fig. 16a and

b. It is also noticeable that the impact time and the contact

force vary corresponding to the tooth meshing positions;

i.e. the more tooth members are in engaged, the less vari-

ances of the contact forces and thus a better loading

condition.

Fig. 17 presents the normal velocities of the contact sur-

faces for the spur gear drive when the initial speed of the

pinion is 500 r/min. It can be seen that the velocities oscil-

late around certain average values. Fig. 18 shows selected

consecutive still frames of the stress contours of the spur

gear drive. These stress variations in diﬀerent time frames

show the propagation of elastic waves in the meshing gears.

When the gear is stationary without tangential con-

straints, the gear can rotate around its centre if a force is

applied to it from the pinion. Under this boundary condi-

tion, the time histories of the total contact forces are shown

in Fig. 19a and b. Comparing to Fig. 16, the impact time

reduces considerably and the maximum contact forces

become much smaller. It is also noted that there is a signif-

icant change of the contact force distributions as a function

of time. Further evaluation of the dynamic behavior may

be carried out for a gear drive when more detailed opera-

tion conditions such as the loading conditions of the system

are known.

5.2. Sudden load impact

For the sudden load impact case, torques applied on

the pinion surface are deﬁned to be T

1

= 1500 N m and

T

2

= 2500 N m, respectively. The total contact forces of

the spur and helical gear drives are shown in Fig. 20 when

two tooth pairs are engaged.

The impact time is independent of the magnitude of the

contact forces. But the total contact forces are directly pro-

portional to the loading and are depended upon the type of

the gear forms. Because the loads are applied to the pinion

boundary surface, the stresses take a short period of time

to propagate from the pinion to the meshing position

and then the gear. This process is shown in Fig. 21 in

selected consecutive still frames of von Mises stress

contours.

5.3. Approach impact

An inherent vibration and noise source of a gear

system is the approach impact, in which the meshing

process changes from a single pair to double pairs of

tooth meshing for a spur gear drive. To evaluate the

dynamic response of the spur gear drive, the ﬁnite

Fig. 18. Propagation of elastic waves induced by the initial speed impact and represented by von Mises stress distribution. (a) t = 0.6 ls, (b) t = 1.0 ls,

(c) t = 3.0 ls, (d) t = 10.0 ls, (e) t = 15.0 ls and (f) t = 20.0 ls.

Time t (µs)

V

e

l

o

c

i

t

y

v

(

m

m

/

s

)

-3000

-2000

-1000

0

1000

2000

3000

4000

5000

6000

0 10 20 30 40 50 60

Fig. 17. Time history of normal velocity of gears.

T. Lin et al. / Comput. Methods Appl. Mech. Engrg. 196 (2007) 1716–1728 1725

element analysis starts at t = 3 ls before the single pair

meshing changes to the double pair tooth meshing.

Fig. 22 shows the total impact force versus time at diﬀer-

ent rotational speeds and diﬀerent loads applied to the

spur gear drive.

From the result shown in Fig. 22a, the total approach

impact force is directly proportional to the rotating speed,

i.e. the higher the rotating speed, the larger the total con-

tact force. The total contact force before the transition

from the single to double pairs of tooth meshing denotes

0

10

20

30

40

50

60

70

80

0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14

r/min 1000

2

= n

r/min 500

1

= n

Time t (µs)

T

o

t

a

l

c

o

n

t

a

c

t

f

o

r

c

e

F

n

(

k

N

)

0

10

20

30

40

50

60

70

80

0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18

r/min 1000

2

= n

r/min 500

1

= n

Time t (µs)

T

o

t

a

l

c

o

n

t

a

c

t

f

o

r

c

e

F

n

(

k

N

)

Fig. 19. Total contact forces under initial speed without displacement constraint. (a) Spur gear and (b) helical gear.

0

10

20

30

40

50

60

70

80

0 20 40 60 80 100 120

Time t (µs)

T

o

t

a

l

c

o

n

t

a

c

t

f

o

r

c

e

F

n

(

k

N

)

m N 2500

2

⋅ = T m N 1500

1

⋅ = T

0

10

20

30

40

50

60

70

80

0 20 40 60 80 100 120

Time t ( µs)

T

o

t

a

l

c

o

n

t

a

c

t

f

o

r

c

e

F

n

(

k

N

)

m N 2500

2

⋅ = T m N 1500

1

⋅ = T

Fig. 20. Total contact forces with sudden applied load. (a) Spur gear and (b) helical gear.

Fig. 21. Propagation of elastic waves induced by the sudden load impact and represented by von Mises stress distribution. (a) t = 1.5 ls, (b) t = 3.0 ls,

(c) t = 4.0 ls, (d) t = 10.0 ls, (e) t = 20.0 ls and (f) t = 40.0 ls.

1726 T. Lin et al. / Comput. Methods Appl. Mech. Engrg. 196 (2007) 1716–1728

only the contact forces of the ﬁrst tooth pair and the curve

is smooth. At the instant of t = 3 ls, the second tooth pair

starts to be engaged and this causes an interference between

the meshing tooth pairs because of the elastic deformation

of the ﬁrst tooth pair. Thus the impact forces increase dra-

matically and the peak contact force reaches twice as high

as the average value of the contact forces. This is under-

stood to be a main source for vibration and noise of a gear

drive. As can be seen in Fig. 22b, the total contact forces

are directly proportional to the applied torques. A peak

contact force can be seen at the instant of transition of

tooth meshing condition but the magnitude of the contact

forces and the degree of oscillation are not as severe as the

case of diﬀerent rotating speeds.

Finite element analyses are also carried out for the

approach impact problem of the helical gear drive at diﬀer-

ent rotating speeds and torques. The results suggest a pro-

portional reduction of the total contact forces in both the

computational cases of varying rotating speeds and tor-

ques. This is due to the fact that in the case of the helical

gear drive the transition of tooth engagement is from dou-

ble pairs of tooth meshing to triple pairs of tooth meshing.

5.4. Inﬂuence of backlash under sudden loading

The eﬀect of backlash is also evaluated by deﬁning

diﬀerent backlash values of each pair of teeth from

e

1

= 0.1 mm, e

2

= 0.3 mm and e

3

= 0.5 mm, respectively,

when the impact load applied to the pinion is

T = 1500 N m. The total contact forces under a sudden

load applied at the positions of single pair of tooth meshing

and double pairs tooth meshing for the spur gear drive are

shown in Fig. 23.

It can be seen from Fig. 23 that the impact process is

delayed because of the tooth backlash and the delay time

is dependent upon the value of the backlash. When the sud-

den load is applied, the engaged teeth bear not only the

applied load but also the impact loading caused by the ini-

tial speed and acceleration due to the backlash. Compared

with the results without backlash as shown in Fig. 22b, the

impact force increases signiﬁcantly and the impact time

reduces at the mean time. In line with the increased values

of the backlash, the total contact forces increase and the

contact time reduces accordingly. It is clear that the tooth

backlash has a signiﬁcant eﬀect on the dynamic character-

istics of the gear drives. It is demonstrated through the

numerical results obtained that the ﬁnite element method

outlined in the paper can be used not only to predict the

overall dynamic behavior of a gear drive but also to quan-

tify the detailed eﬀect of various factors such as the back-

lash, approach impact and initial speed/load impact.

Such an analysis would be very useful to improve the

design and manufacturing processes of gear drives for the

improved performance and reduced noise.

6. Conclusions

In this paper we propose a ﬁnite element method for 3D

dynamic contact/impact problems. This method is based

on the derivation of the eﬀective ﬂexibility matrix equation,

0

20

40

60

80

100

120

140

160

0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22

n

1

=500 r/min n

2

=1000 r/min

Time t (µs)

T

o

t

a

l

c

o

n

t

a

c

t

f

o

r

c

e

F

n

(

k

N

)

0

0 4 8 12 16 20 24 28 32 36 40 44

10

20

30

40

50

60

70

80

T

1

=1500 N⋅m T

2

=2500 N⋅m

Time t (µs)

T

o

t

a

l

c

o

n

t

a

c

t

f

o

r

c

e

F

n

/

k

N

Fig. 22. Total approach contact forces of the spur gear drive. (a) At diﬀerent speeds and (b) at diﬀerent loads.

0

50

100

150

200

250

0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80

Time t (µs)

T

o

t

a

l

c

o

n

t

a

c

t

f

o

r

c

e

F

n

(

k

N

)

ε

1

=0.1 mm

ε

2

=0.3 mm ε

3

=0.5 mm

0

50

100

150

200

250

0 10 20 40 30 50 60 70 80 90 100

T

o

t

a

l

c

o

n

t

a

c

t

f

o

r

c

e

F

n

(

k

N

)

Time t (µs)

ε

1

=0.1 mm

ε

2

=0.3 mm ε

3

=0.5 mm

Fig. 23. Total contact forces of the spur gear train with diﬀerent gaps. (a) Single tooth meshing and (b) double teeth meshing.

T. Lin et al. / Comput. Methods Appl. Mech. Engrg. 196 (2007) 1716–1728 1727

which is condensed from the global motion equations to

the contact region of 3D dynamic contact/impact prob-

lems. This makes the computational iterations very eﬃcient

for gear drives as only very small contact region is involved

in tooth meshing at any time instant. A computer program

is developed, which includes an automatic mesh genera-

tion, simulation of static and dynamic contact analysis par-

ticularly for the contact/impact problems of gear drives.

The meshing performance and impact characteristics for

both the spur and the helical gear drives are simulated

under speciﬁcally deﬁned gear operation conditions. A

number of conclusions may be drawn as follows:

(1) The mesh stiﬀness results during the operation pro-

cess obtained from this research agree well with the

results calculated from the conventional method.

(2) When the case of initial speed impact is considered,

the contact time is independent from the initial speed

but the total contact force is directly proportional to

the initial speed. The more the tooth pairs are

engaged, the less variance of the impact forces is.

The results also quantify the diﬀerences of the total

contact forces between the spur and helical gear

drives.

(3) The approach impact time is mainly prescribed by the

geometric parameters of the gear drive and the total

approach contact force is directly proportional to

the initial speed and the sudden load.

(4) The tooth engagement is delayed because of the tooth

backlash. For the sudden load impact problem, the

delay time is proportional to the value of the back-

lash. The total contact force increases signiﬁcantly

with the increase of the tooth backlash but the con-

tact time reduces slightly.

Acknowledgements

This research has been supported by National Natural

Science Foundation of China under contracts No.

50075088 and 50675232. The ﬁrst author is grateful for

his sabbatical leave as Visiting Senior Research Fellow at

Queen’s University Belfast.

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