Increasing power density is an on-going objective for engineers of fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft. The powertrain system is one of the largest contributors to the total mass of the aircraft and the geartrain is the largest contributor to the mass of the powertrain system. As such, the geartrain becomes the primary focus of many power density studies and is the focus of this paper.
Epicyclic geartrains are known to provide high power density and have become the geartrain of choice for the main power flow in virtually all aircraft designs. This paper presents a unique compound planetary design targeting a helicopter main gearbox transmission application. The design significantly improves power density through its innovative planet gear load-sharing configuration along with the utilization of high-performance materials for gears and bearings. Design studies were conducted comparing the power density of this new design to a baseline gearbox design. The results of these studies demonstrate an estimated 38% power density improvement over the baseline configuration. Of the total improvement, 86% is attributed to the novel load-sharing configuration while 14% is attributed to utilization of advanced materials and processes.