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Rotational frequency, n Measured in rotation over time, such as RPM.

Angular frequency, Measured in radians per second. 1RPM = / 30 rad/second
Number of teeth, N How many teeth a gear has, an integer. In the case of worms, it is the
number of thread starts that the worm has.
Gear, wheel The larger of two interacting gears or a gear on its own.
Pinion The smaller of two interacting gears.
Path of contact Path followed by the point of contact between two meshing gear teeth.
Line of action, pressure line Line along which the force between two meshing gear teeth
is directed. It has the same direction as the force vector. In general, the line of action
changes from moment to moment during the period of engagement of a pair of teeth. For
involute gears, however, the tooth-to-tooth force is always directed along the same line
that is, the line of action is constant. This implies that for involute gears the path of
contact is also a straight line, coincident with the line of actionas is indeed the case.
Axis Axis of revolution of the gear; center line of the shaft.
Pitch point, p Point where the line of action crosses a line joining the two gear axes.
Pitch circle, pitch line Circle centered on and perpendicular to the axis, and passing
through the pitch point. A predefined diametral position on the gear where the circular
tooth thickness, pressure angle and helix angles are defined.
Pitch diameter, d A predefined diametral position on the gear where the circular tooth
thickness, pressure angle and helix angles are defined. The standard pitch diameter is a
basic dimension and cannot be measured, but is a location where other measurements are
made. Its value is based on the number of teeth, the normal module (or normal diametral
pitch), and the helix angle. It is calculated as:

in metric units or in imperial units.[15]

Module, m A scaling factor used in metric gears with units in millimeters whose effect is
to enlarge the gear tooth size as the module increases and reduce the size as the module
decreases. Module can be defined in the normal (mn), the transverse (mt), or the axial
planes (ma) depending on the design approach employed and the type of gear being
designed.[15] Module is typically an input value into the gear design and is seldom
Operating pitch diameters Diameters determined from the number of teeth and the center
distance at which gears operate.[4] Example for pinion:

Pitch surface In cylindrical gears, cylinder formed by projecting a pitch circle in the axial
direction. More generally, the surface formed by the sum of all the pitch circles as one
moves along the axis. For bevel gears it is a cone.
Angle of action Angle with vertex at the gear center, one leg on the point where mating
teeth first make contact, the other leg on the point where they disengage.
Arc of action Segment of a pitch circle subtended by the angle of action.
Pressure angle, The complement of the angle between the direction that the teeth exert
force on each other, and the line joining the centers of the two gears. For involute gears,
the teeth always exert force along the line of action, which, for involute gears, is a
straight line; and thus, for involute gears, the pressure angle is constant.
Outside diameter, Do Diameter of the gear, measured from the tops of the teeth.
Root diameter Diameter of the gear, measured at the base of the tooth.
Addendum, a Radial distance from the pitch surface to the outermost point of the tooth. a
= (Do D) / 2
Dedendum, b Radial distance from the depth of the tooth trough to the pitch surface. b =
(D rootdiameter) / 2
Whole depth, ht The distance from the top of the tooth to the root; it is equal to addendum
plus dedendum or to working depth plus clearance.
Clearance Distance between the root circle of a gear and the addendum circle of its mate.
Working depth Depth of engagement of two gears, that is, the sum of their operating
Circular pitch, p Distance from one face of a tooth to the corresponding face of an
adjacent tooth on the same gear, measured along the pitch circle.
Diametral pitch, pd Ratio of the number of teeth to the pitch diameter. Could be measured
in teeth per inch or teeth per centimeter.
Base circle In involute gears, where the tooth profile is the involute of the base circle.
The radius of the base circle is somewhat smaller than that of the pitch circle.
Base pitch, normal pitch, pb In involute gears, distance from one face of a tooth to the
corresponding face of an adjacent tooth on the same gear, measured along the base circle.
Interference Contact between teeth other than at the intended parts of their surfaces.
Interchangeable set A set of gears, any of which will mate properly with any other.

Helical gear nomenclature

Helix angle, Angle between a tangent to the helix and the gear axis. It is zero in the
limiting case of a spur gear, albeit it can considered as the hypotenuse angle as well.
Normal circular pitch, pn Circular pitch in the plane normal to the teeth.
Transverse circular pitch, p Circular pitch in the plane of rotation of the gear. Sometimes
just called "circular pitch". pn = pcos()
Several other helix parameters can be viewed either in the normal or transverse planes.
The subscript n usually indicates the normal.

Worm gear nomenclature

Lead Distance from any point on a thread to the corresponding point on the next turn of
the same thread, measured parallel to the axis.
Linear pitch, p Distance from any point on a thread to the corresponding point on the
adjacent thread, measured parallel to the axis. For a single-thread worm, lead and linear
pitch are the same.
Lead angle, Angle between a tangent to the helix and a plane perpendicular to the axis.
Note that it is the complement of the helix angle which is usually given for helical gears.
Pitch diameter, dw Same as described earlier in this list. Note that for a worm it is still
measured in a plane perpendicular to the gear axis, not a tilted plane.
Notes on Spur Gears

The radial distance between the Pitch Circle and the top of the teeth.

Arc of Action:

That arc of the Pitch Circle between the first point of contact between gear
teeth and the last.

Arc of Approach:

That arc of the Pitch Circle between the first point of contact between gear
teeth and the the Pitch Point.

Arc of Recession:

That arc of the Pitch Circle between the Pitch Point and the last point of
contact between gear teeth.


Play between mating teeth.

Base Circle:

The circle from which is generated the involute curve upon which the tooth
profile is based.

Center Distance:

The distance between centers of two gears.

Chordal Addendum:

The distance between a chord, passing through the points where the Pitch
Circle crosses the tooth profile, and the tooth top.

Chordal Thickness:

The thickness of the tooth measured along a chord passing through the
points where the Pitch Circle crosses the tooth profile.

Circular Pitch:
Inches of Pitch Circle circumference per tooth.

Circular Thickness:

The thickness of the tooth measured along an arc following the Pitch Circle


The distance between the top of a tooth and the bottom of the space into
which it fits on the meshing gear.

Contact Ratio:

The ratio of the length of the Arc of Action to the Circular Pitch.


The radial distance between the bottom of the space between teeth and the
top of the teeth.

Diametral Pitch:

Teeth per inch of diameter. Sometimes written (incorrectly) as Diametrical



The working surface of a gear tooth, located between the pitch diameter and
the top of the tooth.

Face Width:

The width of the tooth measured parallel to the gear axis.


The working surface of a gear tooth, located between the pitch diameter and
the bottom of the space between gear teeth


The larger of two meshed gears. If both gears are the same size, they're both
called "gears". See Pinion.


The top of the tooth.

Line of Action:
That line along which the point of contact between gear teeth travels,
between the first point of contact and the last.


Teeth per millimeter of Pitch Diameter.


The smaller of two meshed gears.

Pitch Circle:

The circle, the radius of which is equal to the distance from the center of the
gear to the pitch point.

Pitch Diameter:

Diameter of the pitch circle

Pitch Point:

The point of tangency of the pitch circles of two meshing gears, where the
Line of Centers crosses the pitch circles.

Pressure Angle:

Angle between the Line of Action and a line perpendicular to the Line of

Profile Shift:

An increase in the Outer Diameter and Root Diameter of a gear, introduced to

lower the practical tooth number or acheive a non-standard Center Distance.
For a description of Profile Shift, see DANotes.


Ratio of the numbers of teeth on mating gears.

Root Circle:

The circle that passes through the bottom of the tooth spaces.

Root Diameter:

The diameter of the Root Circle.

Stub Gear:

A gear with Stub Teeth.

Stub Tooth:

A gear tooth with only 80% of the usual working depth.


A gear tooth which is thinner at the base than at the Pitch Circle. Caused by
too few teeth (too course a Diametral Pitch) for a given Pitch Diameter.

Whole Depth:

The distance between the top of the teeth and the bottom of the spaces
between teeth.

Working Depth:

The depth to which a tooth extends into the space between teeth on the
mating gear.

General Notes
Gears that are smaller than 32 teeth for a 14.5 Pressure Angle, or 18 teeth for a 20 Pressure
Angle, have a Root Circle smaller than the Base Circle, resulting in the teeth being undercut.
Undercutting is avoided by the use of Profile Shift, the shifting the the Addendum and
Dedendum outward without altering the location of the base circle. Profile shift is also used to
attain non-standard center distances. Gears with shifted profiles will run properly with standard

Standard Pressure Angle is 20, but 14.5 is traditional. 14.5 was chosen because the sine is
almost exactly , which simplified design in the pre-computer age.

There are no "standards" for pitch, but industry has settled on certain common values. Common
Diametral Pitches include 48, 32, 24, 20, 18, 16, and 12. Common Modulusises (Modulae?
Moduli?) include 0.5, 0.8, 1.00, 1.25, 1.50, 2.50, and 3.

I prefer the term "formulae" to "formulas". I also prefer "octopodes" to "octopi", on the grounds
that the suffix "pus" is Greek, and should have a Greek plurization rather than a Latin
pluralization, but I digress...

Circular Pitch = Diametral Pitch

Diametral Pitch = Circular Pitch

Pitch Diameter = Teeth Diametral Pitch

Pitch Diameter = Teeth Circular Pitch pi
Center Distance = (Teeth on Pinion + Teeth on Gear) (2 Diametral Pitch)
Center Distance = (Teeth on Pinion + Teeth on Gear) Circular Pitch (2 pi)

Diametral Pitch = (Teeth on Pinion + Teeth on Gear) (2 Center Distance)

Circular Pitch = Center Distance 2 (Teeth on Pinion + Teeth on Gear)

Teeth = Pitch Diameter Diametral Pitch

Teeth = Pitch Diameter Circular Pitch

Base Circle Diameter = Pitch Diameter Cosine(Pressure Angle)

Forumulae Specific to Gears with Standard Teeth

Addendum = 1 Diametral Pitch

Addendum = 0.3183 Circular Pitch

Dedendum = 1.157 Diametral Pitch

Dedendum = 0.3683 Circular Pitch

Working Depth = 2 Diametral Pitch

Working Depth = 0.6366 Circular Pitch

Whole Depth = 2.157 Diametral Pitch

Whole Depth = 0.6866 Circular Pitch

Clearance = 0.157 Diametral Pitch

Clearance = 0.05 Circular Pitch

Outside Diameter = (Teeth + 2) Diametral Pitch

Outside Diameter = (Teeth + 2) Circular Pitch

Diametral Pitch = (Teeth + 2) Outside Diameter

Forumulae Specific to Gears with Stub Teeth

Addendum = 0.8 Diametral Pitch

Addendum = 0.2546 Circular Pitch

Dedendum = 1 Diametral Pitch

Dedendum = 0.3183 Circular Pitch
Working Depth = 1.6 Diametral Pitch
Working Depth = 0.5092 Circular Pitch

Whole Depth = 1.8 Diametral Pitch

Whole Depth = 0.5729 Circular Pitch

Clearance = 0.2 Diametral Pitch

Clearance = 0.0637 Circular Pitch

Outside Diameter = (Teeth + 1.6) Diametral Pitch

Outside Diameter = (Teeth + 1.6) Circular Pitch

Diametral Pitch = (Teeth + 1.6) Outside Diameter

Formulae for Metric (Module) Gears

Module = 25.4 Diametral Pitch (in)

Diametral Pitch (in) = 25.4 Module

Module = Pitch Diameter Teeth

Addendum = Module

Dedendum = 1.157 Module

Working Depth = 2 Module

Whole Depth = 2.157 Module

Pitch Diameter = Module Teeth

Outside Diameter = Module (Teeth + 2)

Identifying Unknown Gears

There are a lot of ways to do this, the obvious one being to use a gear tooth pitch gauge, but I
don't have one, so the methods I use are as follows. First:

1. Count the teeth;

2. Add two;

3. Divide by the Outer Diameter.

This gives me the Diametral Pitch. It rarely gives me an exact pitch, due to errors in measuring,
but it is usually very close to one of the common pitches of 32, 24, 16, etc.

If this gives me a goofy answer like 22.1, I suspect it is a metric gear, and divide 25.4 by the
pitch (or divide the pitch by 25.4 and hit the 1/x button on the calculator) and see if it comes
reasonably close to one of the standard metric moduli of 0.5, 0.8, 1.0, 1.25, 1.5, 2.5, etc.

If this still gives me a goofy answer like 1.14, then I figure it might be a Stub Gear, and try this:

1. Count the teeth (it doesn't usually change from the last time);

2. Add 1.6;

3. Divide by the Outer Diameter (which also doesn't usually change).

It should be close to one of the common pitches, but, alas, it often isn't. If I have a gear with
which it meshes, I try this:

1. Add up the teeth on BOTH gears;

2. Divide by two;

3. Divide by the Center Distance.

If this doesn't work, it must be a profile-shifted gear, so I try swearing, which also doesn't work.

Helical Gears


Helical gears are similar to spur gears except that the gears teeth are at an angle with the
axis of the gears. A helical gear is termed right handed or left handed as determined by the
direction the teeth slope away from the viewer looking at the top gear surface along the
axis of the gear. ( Alternatively if a gear rests on its face the hand is in the direction of the
slope of the teeth) . Meshing helical gears must be of opposite hand. Meshed helical gears
can be at an angle to each other (up to 90o ). The helical gear provides a smoother mesh
and can be operated at greater speeds than a straight spur gear. In operatation helical gears
generate axial shaft forces in addition to the radial shaft force generated by normal spur

In operation the initial tooth contact of a helical gear is a point which develops into a full
line contact as the gear rotates. This is a smoother cycle than a spur which has an initial
line contact. Spur gears are generally not run at peripheral speed of more than 10m/s.
Helical gears can be run at speed exceeding 50m/s when accurately machined and

Standards ... The same standards apply to helical gears as for spur gears

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

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

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

Helical gear parameters

A helical gear train with parallel axes is very similar to a spur gear with the same tooth
profile and proportions. The primary difference is that the teeth are machined at an angle
to the gear axis.
Helix Angle ..

The helix angle of helical gears is generally selected from the range 6,8,10,12,15,20
degrees. The larger the angle the smoother the motion and the higher speed possible
however the thrust loadings on the supporting bearings also increases. In case of a double
or herringbone gear values 25,30,35,40 degrees can also be used. These large angles can
be used because the side thrusts on the two sets of teeth cancel each other allowing larger
angles with no penalty

Pitch /module ..

For helical gears the circular pitch is measured in two ways

The traverse circular pitch (p) is the same as for spur gears and is measured along the pitch
The normal circular pitch p n is measured normal to the helix of the gear.
The diametric pitch is the same as for spur gears ... P = z g /dg = z p /d p ....d= pitch circle
dia (inches).
The module is the same as for spur gears ... m = dg/z g = d p/z p.... d = pitch circle dia

Helical Gear geometrical proportions

p = Circular pitch = d g. / z g = d p. / z p

p n = Normal circular pitch = p .cos

P n =Normal diametrical pitch = P /cos

p x = Axial pitch = p c /tan

m n =Normal module = m / cos

n = Normal pressure angle = tan ( tan.cos )

=Helix angle

d g = Pitch diameter gear = z g. m

d p = Pitch diameter pinion = z p. m

a =Center distance = ( z p +z g )* m n /2 cos

a a = Addendum = m

a f =Dedendum = 1.25*m

b = Face width of narrowest gear

Herringbone / double crossed helical gears

Crossed Helical Gears

When two helical gears are used to transmit power between non parallel, non-intersecting
shafts, they are generally called crossed helical gears. These are simply normal helical
gears with non-parallel shafts. For crossed helical gears to operate successfully they must
have the same pressure angle and the same normal pitch. They need not have the same
helix angle and they do not need to be opposite hand. The contact is not a good line
contact as for parallel helical gears and is often little more than a point contact. Running in
crossed helical gears tend to marginally improve the area of contact.
The relationship between the shaft angles and the helix angles 1 & 2 is as follows

= (Same Helix Angle) 1 + 2 ......(Opposite Helix Angle) 1 - 2

For gears with a 90o crossed axis it is obvious that the gears must be the same

The centres distance (a) between crossed helical gears is calculated as follows

a = m * [(z 1 / cos 1) + ( z 1 / cos 1 )] / 2

The sliding velocity Vsof crossed helical gears is given by

Vs = (V1 / cos 1 ) = (V 2 / cos 2 )

Strength and Durability calculations for Helical Gear Teeth

Designing helical 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 should best be completed using :

a) Standards.
b) Books are available providing the necessary guidance.
c) Software is also available making the process very easy. A very reasonably priced and
easy to use package is included in the links below (
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..


The Lewis formula for spur gears can be applied to helical gears with minor adjustments to
provide an initial conservative estimate of gear strength in bending. This equation should
only be used for first estimates.

= Fb / ( ba. m. Y )

Fb = Normal force on tooth = Tangential Force Ft / cos

= Tooth Bending stress (MPa)

ba = Face width (mm)

Y = Lewis Form Factor

m = Module (mm)

When a gear wheel is rotating the gear teeth come into contact with some degree of
impact. To allow for this a velocity factor is introduced into the equation. This is given by
the Barth equation for milled profile gears.

K v = (6,1 + V ) / 6,1

V = the pitch line velocity = PCD./2

The Lewis formula is thus modified as follows

= K v.Fb / ba. m. Y

The Lewis form factor Y must be determined for the virtual number of teeth z' = z /cos3
The bending stress resulting should be less than the allowable bending stress Sb for the gear
material under consideration. Some sample values are provide on this page ef Gear
Strength Values

Surface Strength

The allowable gear force from surface durability considerations is determined

approximately using the simple equation as follows

Fw = K v d p b a Q K / cos2

Q = 2. dg /( dp + dp ) = 2.zg /( zp +zp )

Fw = The allowable gear load. (MPa)

K = Gear Wear Load Factor (MPa) obtained by look up ref Gear Strength Values

Lewis Form factor for Teeth profile = 20o ,

addendum = m, dedendum = 1.25m

Num Num Num Num Num

ber ber ber ber ber
of Y of Y of Y of Y of Y
teet teet teet teet teet
h h h h h

0.2 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.4

12 17 22 34 75
45 03 31 71 35

0.2 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.4

13 18 24 38 100
61 09 37 84 47

14 0.2 19 0.3 26 0.3 45 0.4 150 0.4

77 14 46 01 60

0.2 0.3 0.3 0.4 0.4

15 20 28 50 300
90 22 53 09 72

0.2 0.3 0.3 0.4 Rac 0.4

16 21 30 60
96 28 59 22 k 85

Bevel Gears


There are four basic types of bevel gears.

Straight bevel gears.. These gears have a conical pitch

surface and straight teeth tapering towards an apex

Zerol bevel gears. These are similar to a bevel gears

except the teeth are curved. In essence, Zerol Bevel
Gears are Spiral Bevel Gears with a spiral angle of zero.

Spiral bevel gears. The teeth are curved teeth at an

angle allowing tooth contact to be gradual and smooth

Hypoid bevel gears..These gears are similar to spiral

bevel except that the pitch surfaces are hyperboloids
rather than cones. Pinion can be offset above, or
below,the gear centre, thus allowing larger pinion
diameter, and longer life and smoother mesh, with
additional ratios e.g 6:1, 8:1, 10:1


BS 545:1982..Specification for bevel gears (machine cut)..(Obsolescent)

BS ISO 10300-1:2001..Calculation of load capacity of bevel gears. Calculation of load
capacity of bevel gears. Introduction and general influence factors
BS ISO 10300-2:2001..Calculation of load capacity of bevel gears. Calculation of surface
durability (pitting)
BS ISO 10300-3:2001..Calculation of load capacity of bevel gears. Calculation of tooth
root strength

Straight bevel gears

These are gears cut from conical blanks and connect intersecting shaft axes. The
connecting shafts are generally at 90o and sometimes one shaft drives a bevel gear which is
mounted on a through shaft resulting in two output shafts. The point of intersection of the
shafts is called the apex and the teeth of the two gears converge at the apex. The design of
bevel gears results in thrust forces away from the apex. With the bearing limitations the
gears have to be carefully designed to ensure that they are not thrown out of alignment as
they are loaded.

Straight bevel gears are used widely in machine drive systems to effect 90o direction
changes. and in differential drives They have the same limitations as spur gears and they
are therefore not used on high duty high speed applications. Straight bevel gears are low
cost units supplied with ratios from 1:2 to 4:1.

Straight Bevel Gear Terminology

Straight Bevel Gear Force equations


z p = Number of teeth on pinion

z g = Number of teeth on pinion
= Pressure Angle of Teeth.
p = Pitch Angle (pinion)....= tan-1 (z p / z g )
g = Pitch Angle (gear)....= tan-1 (z g / z p )
P p = Power at Pinion shaft (kW)
n p = Rotational speed of pinion shaft (revs/min)
d p = Pinion Pitch Circle diameter (mm)
Mp = torque on pinion shaft (Nm)
Fs = Separating Force (N)
Fp = Pinion Thrust (N)
Fg = Gear Thrust (N)

Zerol Bevel Gears

The advantage of Zerol bevel gears compared to straight bevel gears is that they operate
with a smooth localised point contact as opposed to a line contact enabling smoother
operation with low vibration levels and higher speeds. Because there is no spiral angle and
no additional developed thrust these gears can be used as direct replacements for straight
bevel gears. These gears normally have a pressure angle of 20 o. The minimum number of
teeth on the pinion is 14. The design of Zerol gears is relatively specialised and they are
manufactured using special "Gleason" machine tools..

Spiral Bevel Gear

These are produced using a spiral gear form which results in a smoother drive suitable for
higher speed higher loaded applications. Again satisfactory performance of this type of
gear is largely dependent upon the rigidity of the bearings and mountings.

n = Normal Pressure angle..

= pitch cone angle
= Helix angle

Pinion Thrust F p = F t [ (tan n sin / cos ) tan cos ]

Note: ( + ) if helix angle is as shown and ( -) if helix angle is opposite to that shown

Hypoid Bevel Gear

Hypoid gears are best for the applications requiring large speed reductions with non
intersecting shafts and those applications requiring smooth and quiet operation. Hypoid
gears are generally used for automotive applications. The minimum number of teeth for
speed ratios greater than 6 :1 is eight although 6 teeth pinions can be used for ratios below
6:1. Hypoid gears have pressure angles between 19 and 22o. The design of hypoid gears
is relatively specialised and they are manufactured using special "Gleason" machine tools..
Straight Bevel Gear Strength and Durability Equations

Designing bevel gears is normally done in accordance with standards as listed under
specifications 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 bevel gears should only be completed
using the relevant standards. Books are available providing the necessary guidance.
Software is also available making the process very easy.

The equations are basically modified spur gears equations using a spur gear equivalent
number of teeth z e

Equivalent Number of teeth on gear = z eg = z g / cos g

Equivalent Number of teeth on pinion = z ep = z p / cos p

Bending Strength Equations

The basic lewis formula for spur gear teeth is shown as follows

= F t / ( W. m. Y )

F t = Tangential force on tooth (N)

= Tooth Bending stress (MPa)

W = Face width (mm)

Y = Lewis Form Factor

m = Module (mm)

The Lewis formula is modified to provide the allowable tangential force F b based on the
allowable bending Stress S b

F a = S b.W. m. Y

It is clear that a bevel gear does not have a uniform section or a uniform module and
therefore it is necessary to start an analysis by considering an element dx..

The Lewis formula applied to the element is as follows

To obtain the allowable torque (M) transmitted by the gears multiply both sides by r xand
integrate the resulting equations as shown below
The module varies along the gear teeth in proportion to the radius from the apex along the
pitch cone.
Thus ..m / m x = L / x where m = module at x = L

A similar relationship holds for for r x. i.e for r x /r = x /L

Substituting these relationships into the integration equation results..

d x varies from x = (L -b) to x = L the integration can be solved as follows:

The face width is considered to be limited to 1/3 of the cone distance when the factor b2 /
(3.L2) = 1/27 is so small compared to the other factors that it can be reasonably ignored .
Then dividing by r to arrive at the Lewis equation for the allowable bending load

The allowable bending load F b must be greater than the dynamic load which is the actual
bending load calculated from the transmitted torque modified by the Barth formula as
identified in the notes on spur gears i.e


K v is given by the Barth equation for milled profile gears.

K v = 6,1 / (6,1 +V )

Note: This factor is different for different gear conditions i.e K v = ( 3.05 + V )/3.05 for cast
iron, cast profile gears.

V =Average velocity of gear face = 0.0000524.n.d mean

d mean is the mean pitch circle diameter (mm)..
n = Rotational speed of gear (rpm)

Surface Durability Equations

The gear durability equation is based on the Hertz contact stress equation and its
application to gears.
The allowable tangential wear load F w is calculated as follows

F w = d p. K. Q' / cos p

d p = Pitch diameter measured at the back of tooth

Q' = 2 z eg /( z ep + z ep )
z eg & z ep are the equivalent number of teeth on the gear and pinion as defined above
K = Wear Load Factor see table Gear table

The allowable load F w must be greater than the dynamic bending load which is the actual
load calculated from the transmitted torque modified by the Barth formula as identified in
the notes on spur gears i.e

[edit] External vs internal gears

Internal gear

An external gear is one with the teeth formed on the outer surface of a cylinder or cone.
Conversely, an internal gear is one with the teeth formed on the inner surface of a cylinder or
cone. For bevel gears, an internal gear is one with the pitch angle exceeding 90 degrees. Internal
gears do not cause direction reversal.[5]

[edit] Spur

Spur gear

Spur gears or straight-cut gears are the simplest type of gear. They consist of a cylinder or disk
with the teeth projecting radially, and although they are not straight-sided in form, the edge of
each tooth is straight and aligned parallel to the axis of rotation. These gears can be meshed
together correctly only if they are fitted to parallel shafts.

[edit] Helical
Helical gears
Top: parallel configuration
Bottom: crossed configuration

Helical or "dry fixed" gears offer a refinement over spur gears. The leading edges of the teeth are
not parallel to the axis of rotation, but are set at an angle. Since the gear is curved, this angling
causes the tooth shape to be a segment of a helix. Helical gears can be meshed in a parallel or
crossed orientations. The former refers to when the shafts are parallel to each other; this is the
most common orientation. In the latter, the shafts are non-parallel, and in this configuration are
sometimes known as "skew gears".

The angled teeth engage more gradually than do spur gear teeth causing them to run more
smoothly and quietly.[6] With parallel helical gears, each pair of teeth first make contact at a
single point at one side of the gear wheel; a moving curve of contact then grows gradually across
the tooth face to a maximum then recedes until the teeth break contact at a single point on the
opposite side. In spur gears teeth suddenly meet at a line contact across their entire width causing
stress and noise. Spur gears make a characteristic whine at high speeds. Whereas spur gears are
used for low speed applications and those situations where noise control is not a problem, the use
of helical gears is indicated when the application involves high speeds, large power transmission,
or where noise abatement is important. The speed is considered to be high when the pitch line
velocity exceeds 25 m/s.[7]

A disadvantage of helical gears is a resultant thrust along the axis of the gear, which needs to be
accommodated by appropriate thrust bearings, and a greater degree of sliding friction between
the meshing teeth, often addressed with additives in the lubricant.

[edit] Skew gears

For a 'crossed' or 'skew' configuration the gears must have the same pressure angle and normal
pitch, however the helix angle and handedness can be different. The relationship between the two
shafts is actually defined by the helix angle(s) of the two shafts and the handedness, as defined:[8]

E = 1 + 2 for gears of the same handedness

E = 1 2 for gears of opposite handedness

Where is the helix angle for the gear. The crossed configuration is less mechanically sound
because there is only a point contact between the gears, whereas in the parallel configuration
there is a line contact.[8]

Quite commonly helical gears are used with the helix angle of one having the negative of the
helix angle of the other; such a pair might also be referred to as having a right-handed helix and a
left-handed helix of equal angles. The two equal but opposite angles add to zero: the angle
between shafts is zero that is, the shafts are parallel. Where the sum or the difference (as
described in the equations above) is not zero the shafts are crossed. For shafts crossed at right
angles the helix angles are of the same hand because they must add to 90 degrees.

3D Animation of helical gears (parallel axis)

3D Animation of helical gears (crossed axis)

[edit] Double helical

Double helical gears

Main article: Double helical gear

Double helical gears, or herringbone gear, overcome the problem of axial thrust presented by
"single" helical gears by having two sets of teeth that are set in a V shape. Each gear in a double
helical gear can be thought of as two standard mirror image helical gears stacked. This cancels
out the thrust since each half of the gear thrusts in the opposite direction. Double helical gears
are more difficult to manufacture due to their more complicated shape.

For each possible direction of rotation, there are two possible arrangements of two oppositely-
oriented helical gears or gear faces. In one possible orientation, the helical gear faces are oriented
so that the axial force generated by each is in the axial direction away from the center of the
gear; this arrangement is unstable. In the second possible orientation, which is stable, the helical
gear faces are oriented so that each axial force is toward the mid-line of the gear. In both
arrangements, when the gears are aligned correctly, the total (or net) axial force on each gear is
zero. If the gears become misaligned in the axial direction, the unstable arrangement generates a
net force for disassembly of the gear train, while the stable arrangement generates a net
corrective force. If the direction of rotation is reversed, the direction of the axial thrusts is
reversed, a stable configuration becomes unstable, and vice versa.

Stable double helical gears can be directly interchanged with spur gears without any need for
different bearings.

[edit] Bevel

Bevel gear

Main article: Bevel gear

A bevel gear is shaped like a right circular cone with most of its tip cut off. When two bevel
gears mesh, their imaginary vertices must occupy the same point. Their shaft axes also intersect
at this point, forming an arbitrary non-straight angle between the shafts. The angle between the
shafts can be anything except zero or 180 degrees. Bevel gears with equal numbers of teeth and
shaft axes at 90 degrees are called miter gears.

The teeth of a bevel gear may be straight-cut as with spur gears, or they may be cut in a variety
of other shapes. Spiral bevel gear teeth are curved along the tooth's length and set at an angle,
analogously to the way helical gear teeth are set at an angle compared to spur gear teeth. Zerol
bevel gears have teeth which are curved along their length, but not angled. Spiral bevel gears
have the same advantages and disadvantages relative to their straight-cut cousins as helical gears
do to spur gears. Straight bevel gears are generally used only at speeds below 5 m/s
(1000 ft/min), or, for small gears, 1000 r.p.m.[9]

3D Animation of two bevel gears

[edit] Hypoid
Hypoid gear

Main article: Spiral bevel gear

Hypoid gears resemble spiral bevel gears except the shaft axes do not intersect. The pitch
surfaces appear conical but, to compensate for the offset shaft, are in fact hyperboloids of
revolution.[10][11] Hypoid gears are almost always designed to operate with shafts at 90 degrees.
Depending on which side the shaft is offset to, relative to the angling of the teeth, contact
between hypoid gear teeth may be even smoother and more gradual than with spiral bevel gear
teeth. Also, the pinion can be designed with fewer teeth than a spiral bevel pinion, with the result
that gear ratios of 60:1 and higher are feasible using a single set of hypoid gears.[12] This style of
gear is most commonly found driving mechanical differentials; which are normally straight cut
bevel gears; in motor vehicle axles.

[edit] Crown

Crown gear

Crown gears or contrate gears are a particular form of bevel gear whose teeth project at right
angles to the plane of the wheel; in their orientation the teeth resemble the points on a crown. A
crown gear can only mesh accurately with another bevel gear, although crown gears are
sometimes seen meshing with spur gears. A crown gear is also sometimes meshed with an
escapement such as found in mechanical clocks.

[edit] Worm
Worm gear

4-start worm and wheel

Main article: Worm drive

Main article: Slewing drive

Worm gears resemble screws. A worm gear is usually meshed with a spur gear or a helical gear,
which is called the gear, wheel, or worm wheel.

Worm-and-gear sets are a simple and compact way to achieve a high torque, low speed gear
ratio. For example, helical gears are normally limited to gear ratios of less than 10:1 while worm-
and-gear sets vary from 10:1 to 500:1.[13] A disadvantage is the potential for considerable sliding
action, leading to low efficiency.[14]

Worm gears can be considered a species of helical gear, but its helix angle is usually somewhat
large (close to 90 degrees) and its body is usually fairly long in the axial direction; and it is these
attributes which give it screw like qualities. The distinction between a worm and a helical gear is
made when at least one tooth persists for a full rotation around the helix. If this occurs, it is a
'worm'; if not, it is a 'helical gear'. A worm may have as few as one tooth. If that tooth persists for
several turns around the helix, the worm will appear, superficially, to have more than one tooth,
but what one in fact sees is the same tooth reappearing at intervals along the length of the worm.
The usual screw nomenclature applies: a one-toothed worm is called single thread or single start;
a worm with more than one tooth is called multiple thread or multiple start. The helix angle of a
worm is not usually specified. Instead, the lead angle, which is equal to 90 degrees minus the
helix angle, is given.

In a worm-and-gear set, the worm can always drive the gear. However, if the gear attempts to
drive the worm, it may or may not succeed. Particularly if the lead angle is small, the gear's teeth
may simply lock against the worm's teeth, because the force component circumferential to the
worm is not sufficient to overcome friction. Worm-and-gear sets that do lock are called self
locking, which can be used to advantage, as for instance when it is desired to set the position of a
mechanism by turning the worm and then have the mechanism hold that position. An example is
the machine head found on some types of stringed instruments.

If the gear in a worm-and-gear set is an ordinary helical gear only a single point of contact will
be achieved.[15] If medium to high power transmission is desired, the tooth shape of the gear is
modified to achieve more intimate contact by making both gears partially envelop each other.
This is done by making both concave and joining them at a saddle point; this is called a cone-

Worm gears can be right or left-handed following the long established practice for screw threads.

3D Animation of a worm-gear set

[edit] Non-circular

Non-circular gears

Main article: Non-circular gear

Non-circular gears are designed for special purposes. While a regular gear is optimized to
transmit torque to another engaged member with minimum noise and wear and maximum
efficiency, a non-circular gear's main objective might be ratio variations, axle displacement
oscillations and more. Common applications include textile machines, potentiometers and
continuously variable transmissions.

[edit] Rack and pinion

Rack and pinion gearing

Main article: Rack and pinion

A rack is a toothed bar or rod that can be thought of as a sector gear with an infinitely large
radius of curvature. Torque can be converted to linear force by meshing a rack with a pinion: the
pinion turns; the rack moves in a straight line. Such a mechanism is used in automobiles to
convert the rotation of the steering wheel into the left-to-right motion of the tie rod(s). Racks also
feature in the theory of gear geometry, where, for instance, the tooth shape of an interchangeable
set of gears may be specified for the rack (infinite radius), and the tooth shapes for gears of
particular actual radii then derived from that. The rack and pinion gear type is employed in a rack

[edit] Epicyclic

Epicyclic gearing

Main article: Epicyclic gearing

In epicyclic gearing one or more of the gear axes moves. Examples are sun and planet gearing
(see below) and mechanical differentials.

[edit] Sun and planet

Sun (yellow) and planet (red) gearing

Main article: Sun and planet gear

Sun and planet gearing was a method of converting reciprocating motion into rotary motion in
steam engines. It was famously used by James Watt on his early steam engines in order to get
around the patent on the crank.

The Sun is yellow, the planet red, the reciprocating arm is blue, the flywheel is green and the
driveshaft is grey.

[edit] Harmonic drive

Harmonic drive gearing

Main article: Harmonic drive

A harmonic drive is a specialized gearing mechanism often used in industrial motion control,
robotics and aerospace for its advantages over traditional gearing systems, including lack of
backlash, compactness and high gear ratios.

[edit] Cage gear

Cage gear in Pantigo Windmill, Long Island

A cage gear, also called a lantern gear or lantern pinion has cylindrical rods for teeth, parallel to
the axle and arranged in a circle around it, much as the bars on a round bird cage or lantern. The
assembly is held together by disks at either end into which the tooth rods and axle are set.

Axis: The imaginary straight line which forms the longitudinal center line of the drill
Back Taper: A slight decrease in diameter from front to back in the body of the drill
Body: The portion of the drill extending from the shank or neck to the outer corners of
the cutting lips
Body Diameter Clearance: That portion of the land that has been cut away so it will
not rub against the walls of the hole
Built-Up Edge: An adhering deposit of nascent material on the cutting lip or the point
of the drill
Cam Relief: The relief from the cutting edge to the back of the land, produced by a
cam actuated cutting tool or grinding wheel on a relieving machine
Chip Breaker: Nicks or Grooves designed to reduce the size of chips; they may be
steps or grooves in the cutting lip or in the leading face of the land at or adjacent to
the cutting lips
Chip Packing: The failure of chips to pass through the flute during cutting action
Chipping: The breakdown of a cutting lip or margin by loss of fragments broken away
during the cutting action
Chisel Edge: The edge at the end of the web that connects the cutting lips
Chisel Edge Angle: The angle included between the chisel edge and the cutting lip, as
viewed from the end of the drill
Clearance: The space provided to eliminate undesirable contact between the drill and
the workpiece
Clearance Diameter: The diameter over the the cut away portion of the drill lands
Crankshaft or Deep Hole Drills: Drills designed for drilling oil holes in crankshafts,
connecting rods and similar deep holes; they are generally made with heavy webs and
higher helix angles than normal
Cutter Sweep: The section formed by the tool used to generate the flute in leaving the
Double Margin Drill: A drill whose body diameter clearance is produced to leave
more than one margin on each land and is normally made with margins on the leading
edge and on the heel of the land
Drift: A flat tapered bar for forcing a taper shank out of its socket
Drift Slot: A slot through a socket at the small end of the tapered hole to recieve a drift
for forcing a taper shank out of its socket
Drill Diameter: The diameter over the margins of the drill measured at the point
Exposed Length: The distance the large of a shank projects from the drive socket or
large end of the taper ring gage
External Center: The conical point on the shank end of the drill, and the point end on
some sizes of core drills
Flat Drill: A drill whose flutes are produced by two parallel or tapered flats
Flat (Spade) Drill: A removable cutting drill tip usually attached to a special holder
designed for this purpose; generally used for drilling or enlarging cored holes
Flutes: Helical or straight grooves cut or formed in the body of the drill to provide
cutting lips, to permit removal of chips, and to allow cutting fluid to reach the cutting
Flute Length: The length from the outer corners of the cutting lips to the extreme back
end of the flutes; it includes the sweep of the tool used to generate the flutes and,
therefore, does not indicate the usable length of the flutes
Gage Line: The axial position on a taper where the diameter is equal to the basic large
end diameter of the specified taper
Galling: An adhering deposit of nascent work material on the margin adjacent to the
leading edge at and near the point of a drill
Guide: A cylindrical portion, following the cutting portion of the flutes, acting as a
guide to keep the drill in proper alignment; the guide portion may be fluted, grooved,
or solid
Gun Drill: Special purpose straight flute drills with one or more flutes used for deep
hole drilling; they are usually provided with coolant passages through the body; they
may be either solid or tipped
Half-Round Drill: A drill with a transverse cross-section of approximately half a circle
and having one cutting lip
Heel: The trainling edge of the land
Helical Flutes: Flutes which are formed in a helical path around the axis
Helix Angle: The angle made by the leading edge of the land with a plane containing
the axis of the drill
Land: The peripheral portion of the body between adjacent flutes
Land Width: The distance between the leading edge and the heel of the land measured
at a right angle to the leading edge
Lead: The axial advance of a leading edge of the land in one turn around the
Lips: The cutting edges of a two flute drill extending from the chisel edge to the
Lip Relief: The axial relief on the drill point
Lip Relief Angle: The axial relief angle at the outer corner of the lip; it is measured by
projection into a plane tangent to the periphery at the outer corner of the lip
Margin: The cylindrical portion of the land which is not cut away to provide clearance
Multiple-Margin Drill: A drill whose body diameter clearance is produced to leave
more than one margin in each land
Neck: The section of reduced diameter between the body and the shank of a drill Oil
Grooves: Longitudinal straight or helical grooves in the shank, or grooves in the lands
of a drill to carry cutting fluid to the cutting lips Oil Holes or Tubes: Holes through
the lands or web of a drill for passage of cutting fluid to the cutting lips
Overall Length: The length from the extreme end of the shank to the outer corners of
the cutting lips; it does not include the conical shank end often used on straight shank
drills, nor does it include the conical cutting point used on both straight and taper
shank drills
Periphery: The outside circumference of a drill
Peripheral Rake Angle: The angle between the leading edge of the land and an axial
plane at the drill point
Pilot: A cylindrical portion of the drill body preceding the cutting lips; it may be solid,
grooved, or fluted
Point: The cutting end of a drill, made up of the ends of the lands and the web; in form
it it resembles a cone, but departs from a true cone to furnish clearance behind the
cutting lips
Point Angle: THe angle included between the cutting lips projected upon a plane
parallel to the drill axis and parallel to the two cutting lips
Relative Lip Height: The difference in indicator reading on the cutting lip of the drill;
it is measured at a right angle to the cutting lip at a specific distance from the axis of
the tool
Relief: The result of the removal of tool material behind or adjacent to the cutting lip
and leading edge of the land to provide clearance and prevent rubbing (heel drag)
Shank: The part of the drill by which it is held and driven
Sleeve: A tapered shell designed to fit into a specified socket and to receive a taper
shank smaller than the socket
Socket: The tapered hole in a spindle, adaptor, or sleeve, designed to receive, hold,
and drive a tapered shank
Step Drill: A multiple diameter drill with one set of drill lands which are ground to
different diameters
Straight Flutes: Flutes which form lands lying in an axial plane
Subland Drill: A type of multiple diameter drill which has independent sets of lands in
the same body section for each diameter
Tang: The flattened end of a taper shank, intended to fit into a driving slot in a socket
Tang Drive: Two opposite parallel driving flats on the extreme end of a straight shank
Taper Drill: A drill with part or all of its cutting flute length ground with a specific
taper to produce tapered holes; they are used for drilling the original hole or enlarging
an existing hole
Taper Square Shank: A taper shank whose cross section is square
Web: The central portion of the body that joins the lands; the extreme end of the web
forms the chisel edge on a two-flute drill
Web Thickness: The thickness of the web at the point, unless another specific
locationis indicated
Web Thinning: The operation of reducing the web thickness at the point to reduce
drilling thrust