September 2007

Engineering Case Histories

Case 40: Troubleshooting gear face damage

A simple analysis can help in determining the root cause of the failure

Sofronas, A., Consulting Engineer

Destructive pitting across a pinion face (Fig. 1) or broken gear teeth are the types of failures I've analyzed many times. The failure can tell you much about what happened, especially when it is combined with a mechanical and metallurgical analysis.   Fig. 1    Destructive pitting across a pinion face. Gears are designed to fail from pitting rather than tooth breakage in bending. This makes sense since breakage can result in a sudden catastrophic failure. Pitting occurs over time and noisy gears, vibration or metal in the oil are usually detected before a catastrophic failure

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