Efficiency is becoming more and more a main concern in the design of power transmissions and the demand for high efficiency gearboxes is continuously increasing. Also the new restrictive euro standards for the reduction of pollutant emissions from light vehicles impose to improve the efficiency of the engines but also of the gear transmissions. For this reason the resources dedicated to this goal are continuously increasing.
The first step to improve efficiency is to have appropriate models to compare different design solutions. Even if the efficiency of transmissions is quit high if compared to the efficiency of the engines and appropriate models to predict the power losses due to gear meshing, to bearings and to seals already exist, in order to have a further improvement, some aspects like the power losses related to the oil churning, oil squeezing and windage are still to be investigated. These losses rise from the interaction between the moving or rotating elements of the transmission and the lubricant. In previous papers [39, 40, 41 43, 44], the authors have investigated the churning losses of planetary speed reducers (in which there is a relative motion between the “planets + planet carrier” and the lubricant). This report is focused on the oil squeezing power losses. This kind of losses is associated with the pumping of the oil at the gear mesh, where there is a contraction of the volume between the mating gears due to the rotation of them and a consequent overpressure. This overpressure implies a fluid flow primarily in the axial direction and this, for viscous fluids, means additional power losses and a decrease of the efficiency. In this work this phenomena has been studied by means of some CFD (computational fluid dynamic) simulations with a VOF (volume of fluid) approach. The influence of some operating conditions like the rotational speed and the lubricant temperature have been studied.
The results of this study have been included in a model to predict the efficiency of the whole transmission.