Power loss in a transmission is strongly related to the properties of the gear lubricant. Viscosity of the lubricant determines the no-load splash and churning losses. The losses in the EHD regime depend on the base oil type. In the boundary and mixed lubrication regime losses are mainly related to the chemical composition of the additive system. A test method was developed to evaluate the frictional properties of candidate transmission lubricants in relation to a mineral reference oil ISO VG 100 with a typical sulphur-phosphorus additive package. The test results can be expressed in simple correlation factors for no-load, EHD and boundary lubrication conditions, in comparative steady-state temperature development for given mean values of operating conditions, and in a ranking scale of different candidates. For a more detailed analysis of the expected power loss in a transmission in practice the results of the efficiency test can be introduced into an equation for the mean coefficient of gear friction for the respective oil. Thus the test results can be applied to any gear in practice at any operating conditions for any gear geometry. Examples of the influence of viscosity, base oil and additive type on the frictional behavior of gear lubricants and their effect on power loss reduction and energy savings in a gearbox are discussed.

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