Journal bearings cannot be considered as passive elements in gear-bearing assemblies, and the lubricant is recognized as playing an important role in the interactions between the shafts and the bearings. In order to take this influence into account, bearings are usually modeled by means of eight dynamic coefficients, i.e., asymmetric stiffness and damping matrices. In this paper, a nonlinear approach is proposed enabling the behavior of a gear-shaft-bearing assembly to be analyzed. A discrete finite element model is used for the shafts, and a specific gear element is introduced which accounts for non-linear time-varying mesh stiffness as well as tooth shape deviations. The meshing forces are internal system forces whereas the effects of the bearings on the shafts are taken to be external. A combination of the Newmark time integration scheme and the Newton-Raphson algorithm is used to simultaneously solve the contact problem for the gear, and the Reynolds equations for the bearings. The resulting algorithm is applied to a single stage geared system with two shafts, four bearings, a pinion and a gear while taking mass unbalance, eccentricity and meshing excitations into account. Several examples are presented which demonstrate the influence of bearing nonlinearity and the efficiency of the proposed model and numerical procedure.

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