March 2021

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Engineering Case Histories: Case 111: Predict the cause of cracks in gear teeth and time to failure

In the practice of engineering, we sometimes wish for better hindsight or foresight.

Sofronas, A., Consulting Engineer

In the practice of engineering, we sometimes wish for better hindsight or foresight. This may occur when management questions why something has occurred, and what the risk is to operate until the next planned turnaround. In such a scenario, management is essentially asking for a prediction of the past and the future. Consider the following case history: A crack is noticed on a gear tooth after a sudden power outage. The risk is that if the tooth breaks off and falls into the gear mesh, a major wreck could occur, resulting in a long outage. Knowing when and why the crack started is also important to ensure that a repeat event will not occur. Starting up after a gear set replacement without k

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