Plastic gears bring some interesting advantages compared to metal gears. However, they also have some drawbacks, many of them related to the dependency of their mechanical properties with the temperature. Among other reasons, the friction between the gear teeth causes a heat flux that heats the gears and produces temperature variations within the gear geometries. These temperature variations have effects on the mechanical response of the gears, that must be taken into account when designing plastic gear drives.
In this work, two different finite element models have been proposed to perform heating contact analysis, that is a coupled thermal-stress analysis that takes into account the heating produced by friction and the non-linear properties of the material. As a result of these models, the temperature field of the gears can be determined at any running time, as well as other interesting results, such as the transmission error function or the instantaneous power loss.