Simulating Fatigue Crack Growth in Spiral Bevel Gears.

Report No. ARL-CR-451
Authors: Lisa E. Spievak, Paul A. Wawrzynek, Anthony R. Ingraffea
Date/Pages: May 2000; 122 pages
Abstract: The majority of helicopter transmission systems utilize spiral bevel gears to convert the horizontal power from the engine into vertical power for the rotor. Due to the cyclical loading on a gear's tooth, fatigue crack propagation can occur. In rotor craft applications, a crack's trajectory determines whether the gear failure will be benign or catastrophic for the aircraft. As a result, the capability to predict crack growth in gears is significant. A spiral bevel gear's complex shape requires a three dimensional model of the geometry and cracks. The boundary element method in conjunction with linear elastic fracture mechanics theories is used to predict arbitrarily shaped three dimensional fatigue crack trajectories in a spiral bevel pinion under moving load conditions. The predictions are validated by comparison to experimental results. The sensitivity of the predictions to variations in loading conditions and crack growth rate model parameters is explored. Critical areas that must be understood in greater detail prior to predicting more accurate crack trajectories and crack growth rates in three dimensions are identified.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: May 1, 2000