A kinematic analysis of meshing polymer gear teeth

M Karimpour, Karl Dearn, Douglas Walton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)
77 Downloads (Pure)


This article describes an investigation into the contact behaviour of polymeric gear transmissions using numerical finite element (FE) and analytical techniques. A polymer gear pair was modelled and analysed using the ABAQUS software suite and the analytical results were calculated using the BS ISO 6336 rating standard. Before describing the results, the principles of the strategies and methods employed in the building of the FE model have been discussed. The FE model dynamically simulated a range of operating conditions. The simulations showed that the kinematic behaviour of polymeric gears is substantially different from those predicted by the classical metal gear theory. Extensions to the path of contact occur at the beginning and end of the meshing cycle. These are caused by large tooth deflections experienced by polymer gear teeth, as a result of much lower values of stiffness compared to metallic gears. The premature contact (occurring at the beginning of the meshing cycle) is hypothesized to be a factor in pitch line tooth fractures, whereas the extended contact is thought to be a factor in the extreme wear as seen in experiments. Furthermore, the increase in the path of contact also affects the induced bending and contact stresses. Simulated values are compared against those predicted by the international gear standard BS ISO 6336 and are shown to be substantially different. This is particularly for the case for bending stresses, where analytically derived values are independent of contact stiffness. The extreme tooth bending and the differences between analytical and numerical stresses observed in all the simulations suggest that any future polymeric gear-rating standard must account for the effects of load sharing (as a result of tooth deflection) and friction (particularly in dry-running applications).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-115
Number of pages15
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers Part L-Journal of Materials Design and Applications
Issue numberL3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010


  • kinematics
  • spur gears
  • steels
  • friction
  • polymers
  • temperature


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