Gear pairings often run under very high loads. That can result in different kinds of failure modes limiting their lifetime. Many of the known gear failure modes are tribologically influenced. Especially for gear pairs running with lower circumferential speeds or with different surface hardness, (continuous or slow speed) wear is often the lifetime limiting factor. Slow speed wear appears continuously over a longer period of runtime. In many cases, such applications are lubricated with greases. Since the standardized calculation methods (e.g. ISO 6336) do not cover any determination of wear, one common way to predict the wear lifetime is the calculation method according to Plewe. In the associated Plewe diagram the worn off amount of material is correlated to the minimal lubricant film thickness in the tooth contact. The wear intensity decreases for higher film thicknesses. However, this method has certain limits for greases, because the film thickness of a grease, its bleed oil and the base oil is not necessarily the same. Additionally, the consistency and the flow properties have to be considered, because they influence the lubrication supply mechanism (circulating or channeling). Under certain circumstances channeling could be predominant. Although in theory a grease should build a thicker lubricating film than its base oil, experimental investigations have shown higher wear rates in comparison to oil lubrication.

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