Bending fatigue failure of a helical bevel pinion gear

“Bending fatigue failure of a helical bevel pinion gear”, J. Failure Analysis and Prevention, Vol. 15(2), 2015, p. 219-226.
G. A. Pantazopoulos
The analysis of pinion gear damage operated in a tube coiler machine gear box was investigated. Visual inspection, SEM fractographic analysis and metallographic evaluation are employed as the principal analytical techniques for the investigation. Fractographic observations indicated the occurrence of bending fatigue started at the maximum load surface of the gear teeth, known as active flank, and propagated to the opposite area resulting in catastrophic tooth fracture. Unbalanced stress conditions led to the consecutive damage and fracture of adjacent teeth resulting in machine interruption and immediate replacement of the gear system. The multiple fatigue crack initiation sites suggest significant stress concentration probably caused likely by gear misalignment. Metallographic evaluation revealed an entirely heat treated gear microstructure consisted of tempered martensite free from microstructural abnormality that could be associated to the failure. Regular gear inspection and system alignment checks together with the consideration of increasing surface hardness, through selected surface strengthening procedures, are suggested as further corrective actions to minimize similar failures and machine downtime in the future.
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