This paper presents an innovative numerical procedure to determine the optimal balancing area of lateral bushes in external gear pumps or motors. In pressure compensated designs of external gear machines, the lateral bushes perform the important functions of sealing the tooth space volumes while they transfer fluid from the inlet to the outlet port. In normal operating conditions, a lubricating gap exists between the lateral bush and the gear permitting to minimize losses due to shear stress and leakage. These conditions are found by determining proper balancing areas at the side of the bushes not facing the gears, in which the pressure of the high pressure port is properly established. This problem is also known as “axial balance” of external gear machines.

To determine the optimal axial balance which minimizes the power losses associated with the lubricating gap in all operating conditions, all the static and hydrodynamic forces acting on the lateral bushes have to be considered. This delicate aspect of external gear units design is usually addressed through empirical procedures; while in this paper an automatic numerical procedure is presented. The proposed method is based on the solution of the force balance of the lateral bushes, taking into account all force components, including the hydrodynamic terms due to the relative inclination between bushes and gears and material deformation.

After detailing the procedure, the paper describes its potentials by showing the advantages arising from the optimization of the axial balance of a particular external gear pump for fluid power applications.

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