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Gears Gearboxes
Spur Gears
Introduction..... Standards..... Terminology..... Spur Gear Design..... Materials..... Basic
Equations..... Module..... Pressure Angle.....
Contact Ratio..... Forces- Torques etc..... Strength Durability calcs..... Design Process..... Internal
Gears..... Table of Lewis Form Factors.....
The notes below relate to spur gears. Notes specific to helical gears are included on a
separate page Helical Gears
Introduction
Gears are machine elements used to transmit rotary motion between two shafts, normally
with a constant ratio. The pinion is the smallest gear and the larger gear is called the gear
wheel.. A rack is a rectangular prism with gear teeth machined along one side- it is in
effect a gear wheel with an infinite pitch circle diameter. In practice the action of gears in
transmitting motion is a cam action each pair of mating teeth acting as cams. Gear design
has evolved to such a level that throughout the motion of each contacting pair of teeth the
velocity ratio of the gears is maintained fixed and the velocity ratio is still fixed as each
subsequent pair of teeth come into contact. When the teeth action is such that the driving
tooth moving at constant angular velocity produces a proportional constant velocity of the
driven tooth the action is termed a conjugate action. The teeth shape universally selected
for the gear teeth is the involute profile.

Consider one end of a piece of string is fastened to the OD of one cylinder and the other end
of the string is fastened to the OD of another cylinder parallel to the first and both cylinders
are rotated in the opposite directions to tension the string(see figure below). The point on
the string midway between the cylinder P is marked. As the left hand cylinder rotates
CCW the point moves towards this cylinder as it wraps on . The point moves away from
the right hand cylinder as the string unwraps. The point traces the involute form of the gear
teeth.

The lines normal to the point of contact of the gears always intersects the centre line joining
the gear centres at one point called the pitch point. For each gear the circle passing through
the pitch point is called the pitch circle. The gear ratio is proportional to the diameters of
the two pitch circles. For metric gears (as adopted by most of the worlds nations) the gear
proportions are based on the module.
m = (Pitch Circle Diameter(mm)) / (Number of teeth on gear).
In the USA the module is not used and instead the Diametric Pitch d
p
is used
d
p
= (Number of Teeth) / Diametrical Pitch (inches)


Profile of a standard 1mm module gear teeth for a gear with Infinite radius (Rack ).
Other module teeth profiles are directly proportion . e.g. 2mm module teeth are 2 x this
profile

Many gears trains are very low power applications with an object of transmitting motion
with minium torque e.g. watch and clock mechanisms, instruments, toys, music boxes etc.
These applications do not require detailed strength calculations.


Standards
AGMA 2001-C95 or AGMA-2101-C95 Fundamental Rating factors and
Calculation Methods for involute Spur Gear and Helical Gear Teeth
BS 436-4:1996, ISO 1328-1:1995..Spur and helical gears. Definitions and
allowable values of deviations relevant to corresponding flanks of gear
teeth
BS 436-5:1997, ISO 1328-2:1997..Spur and helical gears. Definitions and
allowable values of deviations relevant to radial composite deviations and
runout information
BS ISO 6336-1:1996 ..Calculation of load capacity of spur and helical
gears. Basic principles, introduction and general influence factors
BS ISO 6336-2:1996..Calculation of load capacity of spur and helical
gears. Calculation of surface durability (pitting)
BS ISO 6336-3:1996..Calculation of load capacity of spur and helical
gears. Calculation of tooth bending strength
BS ISO 6336-5:2003..Calculation of load capacity of spur and helical
gears. Strength and quality of materials
If it is necessary to design a gearbox from scratch the design process in selecting the gear
size is not complicated - the various design formulea have all been developed over time and
are available in the relevant standards. However significant effort, judgement and expertise
is required in designing the whole system including the gears, shafts , bearings, gearbox,
lubrication. For the same duty many different gear options are available for the type of gear
, the materials and the quality. It is always preferable to procure gearboxes from specialised
gearbox manufacturers



Terminology - spur gears
Diametral pitch (d
p
)...... The number of teeth per one
inch of pitch circle diameter.
Module. (m) ...... The length, in mm, of the pitch circle
diameter per tooth.
Circular pitch (p)...... The distance between adjacent
teeth measured along the are at the pitch circle diameter
Addendum ( h
a
)...... The height of the tooth above the
pitch circle diameter.
Centre distance (a)...... The distance between the axes of
two gears in mesh.
Circular tooth thickness (ctt)...... The width of a tooth
measured along the are at the pitch circle diameter.
Dedendum ( h
f
)...... The depth of the tooth below the
pitch circle diameter.
Outside diameter ( D
o
)...... The outside diameter of the
gear.
Base Circle diameter ( D
b
) ...... The diameter on which
the involute teeth profile is based.
Pitch circle dia ( p ) ...... The diameter of the pitch
circle.
Pitch point...... The point at which the pitch circle
diameters of two gears in mesh coincide.
Pitch to back...... The distance on a rack between the
pitch circle diameter line and the rear face of the rack.
Pressure angle ...... The angle between the tooth profile
at the pitch circle diameter and a radial line passing
through the same point.
Whole depth...... The total depth of the space between
adjacent teeth.




Spur Gear Design
The spur gear is is simplest type of gear manufactured and is generally used for
transmission of rotary motion between parallel shafts. The spur gear is the first choice
option for gears except when high speeds, loads, and ratios direct towards other
options. Other gear types may also be preferred to provide more silent low-vibration
operation. A single spur gear is generally selected to have a ratio range of between 1:1 and
1:6 with a pitch line velocity up to 25 m/s. The spur gear has an operating efficiency of 98-
99%. The pinion is made from a harder material than the wheel. A gear pair should be
selected to have the highest number of teeth consistent with a suitable safety margin in
strength and wear. The minimum number of teeth on a gear with a normal pressure angle
of 20 desgrees is 18.

The preferred number of teeth are as follows
12 13 14 15 16 18 20 22 24 25 28 30 32 34
38 40 45 50 54 60
64 70 72 75 80 84 90 96 100 120 140 150
180 200 220 250




Materials used for gears
Mild steel is a poor material for gears as as it has poor resistance to surface loading. The
carbon content for unhardened gears is generally 0.4%(min) with 0.55%(min) carbon for the
pinions. Dissimilar materials should be used for the meshing gears - this particularly
applies to alloy steels. Alloy steels have superior fatigue properties compared to carbon
steels for comparable strengths. For extremely high gear loading case hardened steels are
used the surface hardening method employed should be such to provide sufficient case
depth for the final grinding process used.

Material Notes applications
Ferrous metals
Cast Iron
Low Cost easy to
machine with high
damping
Large moderate power,
commercial gears
Cast Steels
Low cost, reasonable
strength
Power gears with medium
rating to commercial
quality
Plain-Carbon Steels
Good machining, can
be heat treated
Power gears with medium
rating to
commercial/medium
quality
Alloy Steels
Heat Treatable to
provide highest
strength and durability
Highest power requirement.
For precision and high
precisiont
Stainless Steels
(Aust)
Good corrosion
resistance. Non-
magnetic
Corrosion resistance with
low power ratings. Up to
precision quality
Stainless Steels
(Mart)
Hardenable,
Reasonable corrosion
resistance, magnetic
Low to medium power
ratings Up to high precision
levels of quality
Non-Ferrous metals
Aluminium alloys Light weight, non- Light duty instrument gears
corrosive and good
machinability
up to high precision quality
Brass alloys
Low cost, non-
corrosive, excellent
machinability
low cost commercial
quality gears. Quality up to
medium precision
Bronze alloys
Excellent
machinability, low
friction and good
compatability with
steel
For use with steel power
gears. Quality up to high
precision
Magnesium alloys
Light weight with poor
corrosion resistance
Ligh weight low load gears.
Quality up to medium
precision
Nickel alloys
Low coefficient of
thermal expansion.
Poor machinability
Special gears for thermal
applications to commercial
quality
Titanium alloys
High strength, for low
weight, good corrosion
resistance
Special light weight high
strength gears to medium
precision
Di-cast alloys
Low cost with low
precision and strength
High production, low
quality gears to commercial
quality
Sintered powder
alloys
Low cost, low quality,
moderate strength
High production, low
quality to moderate
commercial quality
Non metals
Acetal (Delrin
Wear resistant, low
water absorbtion
Long life , low load
bearings to commercial
quality
Phenolic laminates
Low cost, low quality,
moderate strength
High production, low
quality to moderate
commercial quality
Nylons
No lubrication, no
lubricant, absorbs
water
Long life at low loads to
commercial quality
PTFE
Low friction and no
lubrication
Special low friction gears to
commercial quality




Equations for basic gear relationships
It is acceptable to marginally modify these relationships e.g to modify the addendum
/dedendum to allow Centre Distance adjustments. Any changes modifications will affect the
gear performance in good and bad ways...

Addendum h
a
= m = 0.3183 p
Base Circle diameter D
b
= d.cos
Centre distance a = ( d
g
+ d
p
) / 2
Circular pitch p = m.
Circular tooth thickness ctt = p/2
Dedendum h
f
= h - a = 1,25m = 0,3979 p
Module m = d /z
Number of teeth z = d / m
Outside diameter D
o
= (z + 2) x m
Pitch circle diameter d = z . m ... (d
g
= gear & d
p
= pinion )
Whole depth(min) h = 2.25 . m
Top land width(min) t
o
= 0,25 . m



Module (m)
The module is the ratio of the pitch diameter to the number of teeth. The unit of the module
is milli-metres.Below is a diagram showing the relative size of teeth machined in a rack
with module ranging from module values of 0,5 mm to 6 mm

The preferred module values are
0,5 0,8 1 1,25 1,5 2,5 3 4 5 6 8 10 12 16 20 25 32
40 50



Normal Pressure angle
An important variable affecting the geometry of the gear teeth is the normal pressure
angle. This is generally standardised at 20
o
. Other pressure angles should be used only for
special reasons and using considered judgment. The following changes result from
increasing the pressure angle
Reduction in the danger of undercutting and interference
Reduction of slipping speeds
Increased loading capacity in contact, seizure and wear
Increased rigidity of the toothing
Increased noise and radial forces
Gears required to have low noise levels have pressure angles 15
o
to17.5
o




Contact Ratio
The gear design is such that when in mesh the rotating gears have more than one gear in
contact and transferring the torque for some of the time. This property is called the contact
ratio. This is a ratio of the length of the line-of-action to the base pitch. The higher the
contact ratio the more the load is shared between teeth. It is good practice to maintain a
contact ratio of 1.2 or greater. Under no circumstances should the ratio drop below 1.1.

A contact ratio between 1 and 2 means that part of the time two pairs of teeth are in contact
and during the remaining time one pair is in contact. A ratio between 2 and 3 means 2 or 3
pairs of teeth are always in contact. Such as high contact ratio generally is not obtained
with external spur gears, but can be developed in the meshing of an internal and external
spur gear pair or specially designed non-standard external spur gears.

(R
go
2
- R
gb
2
)
1/2
+ (R
po
2
- R
pb
2
)
1/2
- a sin

contact ratio m =
p cos
R
go
= D
go
/ 2..Radius of Outside Dia of Gear
R
gb
= D
gb
/ 2..Radius of Base Dia of Gear
R
po
= D
po
/ 2..Radius of Outside Dia of Pinion
R
pb
= D
pb
/ 2..Radius of Base Dia of Pinion
p = circular pitch.
a = ( d
g
+ d
p
)/2 = center distance.




Spur gear Forces, torques, velocities & Powers
F = tooth force between contacting teeth (at angle pressure angle
to pitch line tangent. (N)
F
t
= tangential component of tooth force (N)
F
s
= Separating component of tooth force
= Pressure angle
d
1
= Pitch Circle Dia -driving gear (m)
d
2
= Pitch Circle Dia -driven gear (m)

1
= Angular velocity of driver gear (Rads/s)

2
= Angular velocity of driven gear (Rads/s)
z
1
= Number of teeth on driver gear
z
2
= Number of teeth on driven gear
P = power transmitted (Watts)
M = torque (Nm)
= efficiency

Tangential force on gears F
t
= F cos
Separating force on gears F
s
= F
t
tan
Torque on driver gear T
1
= F
t
d
1
/ 2
Torque on driver gear T
2
= F
t
d
2
/ 2
Speed Ratio =
1
/
2
= d
2
/ d
1
= z
2
/z
1

Input Power P
1
= T
1
.
1

Output Power P
2
=.T
1
.
2




Spur gear Strength and durability calculations
Designing spur gears is normally done in accordance with standards the two most popular
series are listed under standards above:

The notes below relate to approximate methods for estimating gear strengths. The methods
are really only useful for first approximations and/or selection of stock gears (ref links
below). Detailed design of spur and helical gears is best completed using the standards.
Books are available providing the necessary guidance. Software is also available making
the process very easy. A very reasonably priced and easy to use package is included in the
links below (Mitcalc.com)

The determination of the capacity of gears to transfer the required torque for the desired
operating life is completed by determining the strength of the gear teeth in bending and also
the durability i.e of the teeth ( resistance to wearing/bearing/scuffing loads ) .. The equations
below are based on methods used by Buckingham..




Bending

The basic bending stress for gear teeth is obtained by using the Lewis formula
= F
t
/ ( b
a
. m. Y )
F
t
= Tangential force on tooth
= Tooth Bending stress (MPa)
b
a
= Face width (mm)
Y = Lewis Form Factor
m = Module (mm)
Note: The Lewis formula is often expressed as
= F
t
/ ( b
a
. p. y )

Where y = Y/ and p = circular pitch
When a gear wheel is rotating the gear teeth come into contact with some degree of
impact. To allow for this a velocity factor ( K
v
) is introduced into the equation. This is
given by the Barth equation...
V = the pitch line velocity = d./2 (m/s)

The Lewis formula is thus modified as follows
= K
v
.F
t
/ ( b
a
. m. Y )



Surface Durability
This calculation involves determining the contact stress between the gear
teeth and uses the Herz Formula

w
= 2.F / ( .b .l )

w
= largest surface pressure
F = force pressing the two cylinders (gears) together
l = length of the cylinders (gear)
b = halfwidth =

d
1
,d
2
Are the diameters for the two contacting cylinders.

1
,
2
Poisson ratio for the two gear materials
E
1
,E
2
Are the Young's Modulus Values for the two gears


To arrive at the formula used for gear calculations the following changes
are made
F is replaced by F
t
/ cos
d is replaced by 2.r
l is replaced by W
The velocity factor K
v
as described above is introduced.
Also an elastic constant Z
E
is created

When the value of E used is in MPa then the units of C
p
are MPa =
KPa The resulting formula for the compressive stress developed is as
shown below

The dynamic contact stress
c
developed by the transmitted torque must
be less than the allowable contact stress S
e
...

Note: Values for Allowable stress values S
e
and Z
E
for some materials
are provided at Gear Table

r
1
= d
1
sin /2
r
2
= d
2
sin /2
Important Note: The above equations do not take into account the
various factors which are integral to calculations completed using the
relevant standards. These equations therefore yield results suitable for
first estimate design purposes only...

Design Process To select gears from a stock gear catalogue or do a first approximation for a
gear design select the gear material and obtain a safe working stress e.g Yield stress / Factor
of Safety. /Safe fatigue stress
Determine the input speed, output speed, ratio, torque to be transmitted
Select materials for the gears (pinion is more highly loaded than gear)
Determine safe working stresses (uts /factor of safety or yield stress/factor of safety
or Fatigue strength / Factor of safety )
Determine Allowable endurance Stress S
e

Select a module value and determine the resulting geometry of the gear
Use the lewis formula and the endurance formula to establish the resulting face
width
If the gear proportions are reasonable then - proceed to more detailed evaluations
If the resulting face width is excessive - change the module or material or both and
start again
The gear face width should be selected in the range 9-15 x module or for straight spur gears-
up to 60% of the pinion diameter.



Internal Gears
Advantages:
1. Geometry ideal for epicyclic gear design
2. Allows compact design since the center distance is less than for external gears.
3. A high contact ratio is possible.
4. Good surface endurance due to a convex profile surface working against a concave
surface.
Disadvantages:
1. Housing and bearing supports are more complicated, because the external gear nests
within the internal gear.
2. Low ratios are unsuitable and in many cases impossible because of interferences.
3. Fabrication is limited to the shaper generating process, and usually special tooling is
required.





Lewis form factor.
Table of lewis form factors for different tooth forms and pressure angles
No
Teeth

Load Near Tip of Teeth
Load at Near Middle of
Teeth
14 1/2 deg 20 deg FD 20 deg Stub 25 deg 14 1/2 deg 20 deg FD
Y y Y y Y y Y y Y y Y y
10 0,176 0,056 0,201 0,064 0,261 0,083 0,238 0,076
11 0,192 0,061 0,226 0,072 0,289 0,092 0,259 0,082
12 0,21 0,067 0,245 0,078 0,311 0,099 0,277 0,088 0,355 0,113 0,415 0,132
13 0,223 0,071 0,264 0,084 0,324 0,103 0,293 0,093 0,377 0,12 0,443 0,141
14 0,236 0,075 0,276 0,088 0,339 0,108 0,307 0,098 0,399 0,127 0,468 0,149
15 0,245 0,078 0,289 0,092 0,349 0,111 0,32 0,102 0,415 0,132 0,49 0,156
16 0,255 0,081 0,295 0,094 0,36 0,115 0,332 0,106 0,43 0,137 0,503 0,16
17 0,264 0,084 0,302 0,096 0,368 0,117 0,342 0,109 0,446 0,142 0,512 0,163
18 0,27 0,086 0,308 0,098 0,377 0,12 0,352 0,112 0,459 0,146 0,522 0,166
19 0,277 0,088 0,314 0,1 0,386 0,123 0,361 0,115 0,471 0,15 0,534 0,17
20 0,283 0,09 0,32 0,102 0,393 0,125 0,369 0,117 0,481 0,153 0,544 0,173
21 0,289 0,092 0,326 0,104 0,399 0,127 0,377 0,12 0,49 0,156 0,553 0,176
22 0,292 0,093 0,33 0,105 0,404 0,129 0,384 0,122 0,496 0,158 0,559 0,178
23 0,296 0,094 0,333 0,106 0,408 0,13 0,390 0,124 0,502 0,16 0,565 0,18
24 0,302 0,096 0,337 0,107 0,411 0,131 0,396 0,126 0,509 0,162 0,572 0,182
25 0,305 0,097 0,34 0,108 0,416 0,132 0,402 0,128 0,515 0,164 0,58 0,185
26 0,308 0,098 0,344 0,109 0,421 0,134 0,407 0,13 0,522 0,166 0,584 0,186
27 0,311 0,099 0,348 0,111 0,426 0,136 0,412 0,131 0,528 0,168 0,588 0,187
28 0,314 0,1 0,352 0,112 0,43 0,137 0,417 0,133 0,534 0,17 0,592 0,188
29 0,316 0,101 0,355 0,113 0,434 0,138 0,421 0,134 0,537 0,171 0,599 0,191
30 0,318 0,101 0,358 0,114 0,437 0,139 0,425 0,135 0,54 0,172 0,606 0,193
31 0,32 0,101 0,361 0,115 0,44 0,14 0,429 0,137 0,554 0,176 0,611 0,194
32 0,322 0,101 0,364 0,116 0,443 0,141 0,433 0,138 0,547 0,174 0,617 0,196
33 0,324 0,103 0,367 0,117 0,445 0,142 0,436 0,139 0,55 0,175 0,623 0,198
34 0,326 0,104 0,371 0,118 0,447 0,142 0,44 0,14 0,553 0,176 0,628 0,2
35 0,327 0,104 0,373 0,119 0,449 0,143 0,443 0,141 0,556 0,177 0,633 0,201
36 0,329 0,105 0,377 0,12 0,451 0,144 0,446 0,142 0,559 0,178 0,639 0,203
37 0,33 0,105 0,38 0,121 0,454 0,145 0,449 0,143 0,563 0,179 0,645 0,205
38 0,333 0,106 0,384 0,122 0,455 0,145 0,452 0,144 0,565 0,18 0,65 0,207
39 0,335 0,107 0,386 0,123 0,457 0,145 0,454 0,145 0,568 0,181 0,655 0,208
40 0,336 0,107 0,389 0,124 0,459 0,146 0,457 0,145 0,57 0,181 0,659 0,21
43 0,339 0,108 0,397 0,126 0,467 0,149 0,464 0,148 0,574 0,183 0,668 0,213
45 0,34 0,108 0,399 0,127 0,468 0,149 0,468 0,149 0,579 0,184 0,678 0,216
50 0,346 0,11 0,408 0,13 0,474 0,151 0,477 0,152 0,588 0,187 0,694 0,221
55 0,352 0,112 0,415 0,132 0,48 0,153 0,484 0,154 0,596 0,19 0,704 0,224
60 0,355 0,113 0,421 0,134 0,484 0,154 0,491 0,156 0,603 0,192 0,713 0,227
65 0,358 0,114 0,425 0,135 0,488 0,155 0,496 0,158 0,607 0,193 0,721 0,23
70 0,36 0,115 0,429 0,137 0,493 0,157 0,501 0,159 0,61 0,194 0,728 0,232
75 0,361 0,115 0,433 0,138 0,496 0,158 0,506 0,161 0,613 0,195 0,735 0,234
80 0,363 0,116 0,436 0,139 0,499 0,159 0,509 0,162 0,615 0,196 0,739 0,235
90 0,366 0,117 0,442 0,141 0,503 0,16 0,516 0,164 0,619 0,197 0,747 0,238
100 0,368 0,117 0,446 0,142 0,506 0,161 0,521 0,166 0,622 0,198 0,755 0,24
150 0,375 0,119 0,458 0,146 0,518 0,165 0,537 0,171 0,635 0,202 0,778 0,248
200 0,378 0,12 0,463 0,147 0,524 0,167 0,545 0,173 0,64 0,204 0,787 0,251
300 0,38 0,122 0,471 0,15 0,534 0,17 0,554 0,176 0,65 0,207 0,801 0,255
Rack 0,39 0,124 0,484 0,154 0,55 0,175 0,566 0,18 0,66 0,21 0,823 0,262

Links to Gear Design
1. Excelcalcs;...Site includes number of excel based gear calculation sheets.(annual
subscription)
2. OnDrives-precision gears ... Supplier of Gears / Gearboxes,Including technical info (
download)
3. Gear Design ...A comprehensive source of Gear Design Information
4. Efunda ...Efunda -> Design Centre-> Gears.. Some useful Notes.
5. Gear Design Topics ... A site providing amazing motion graphics of different gear types
6. SEW Eurodrive...All the information on Gearboxes you will need
7. Quality Transmission Components...Supplier with downloadable Gear Design Handbook
8. Stock Drive Products= Sterling Instruments...Supplier with large quantity of

downloadable drive information
9. Mitcalc...Excel based software including coded gear design
10. Lenze...Drive system supplier with geared motor section
11. Davall Gears...UK Supplier of stock gears and gearboxes
12. Muffett gears...UK Supplier of stock gears and gearboxes
13. Gear Design Lecture Notes...Plymouth.ac.uk - Useful Notes on gear strength design
14. Gear Stress (PDF)...A very useful downloadable paper based on AGMA standards for
gear design
15. DR Gears...One stop resource for gear manufacturers

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Last Updated 15/01/2011