The space shuttle orbiter’s body flap actuator gearing was assessed as a case study of the stresses for very heavily loaded external-internal gear pairs (meshing pinion and ring gear). For many applications, using the high point of single tooth contact (HPSTC) to locate the position of the tooth force is adequate for assessing the maximum tooth root stress condition. But for aerospace gearing such an approach may be inadequate for assessing the stress condition while also simultaneously minimizing mass. In this work specialized contact analyses and finite element methods were used to study gear tooth stresses of body flap actuator gears. The analytical solutions considered the elastic deformations as an inherent part of the solutions. The ratio for the maximum tooth stresses using the HPSTC approach solutions relative to the contact analysis and finite element solutions were 1.40 for the ring gear and 1.28 for the pinion gear.

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