In this paper, effects of root fillet geometry and tooth asymmetry on tooth bending stresses and fatigue lives of spur gears are investigated. For this purpose, an existing gear analysis model, the Load Distribution Program (LDP), is employed to define four basic tooth geometry variations. These four variations are (i) symmetric tooth profiles (i.e. identical loaded and unloaded flanks) with full circular root geometry (at the maximum radius possible), (ii) symmetric tooth profiles with an elliptical root geometry, (iii) asymmetric tooth profiles (i.e. loaded and unloaded flanks at different pressure angles) with full circular root geometries, and (iv) asymmetric tooth profiles with an elliptical root geometry on the right (loaded) flank and a circular root geometry on the left flank. Under these conditions, variations (ii), (iii), and (iv) are predicted to have maximum root stresses that are 7.6%, 22.4%, and 24.3% less than that of the baseline case (i). Actual test articles representing these four variations were qualified through dimensional measurements of the profiles and the root fillet regions. The roots of several of the teeth of each gear type were instrumented and strain measurements under various tooth load levels are compared with the predictions. Single tooth bending fatigue tests were also performed to obtain fatigue data for each variation of the test gears. The resultant tooth bending fatigue performance of each gear variation is shown to correlate with the level of root stress reduction achieved. Experiments indicate that the most significant life increases compared to the baseline conditions are achieved with the last variation (asymmetric tooth profiles and an elliptical root shape), where the mean life is increased by more than 30 times. It is also shown through examination of the broken teeth that the critical locations where the cracks initiated agree well with the predicted locations of the maximum root stresses.

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