Enhancing the efficiency of gearing systems is an important topic for the development of future aero-engines with low specific fuel consumption. An evaluation of its structure and performance is mandatory in order to optimize the design as well as maximize its efficiency. Mechanical power losses are usually distinguished into two main categories: load-dependent and load-independent losses. The former are all those associated with the transmission of torque, while the latter are tied to the fluid dynamics of the environment, which surrounds the gears. The relative magnitude of these phenomena is dependent on the operative conditions of the transmission: load-dependent losses are predominant at slow speeds and high torque conditions, load-independent mechanisms become prevailing in high speed applications, like in turbomachinery. A new test rig was designed for investigating windage power losses resulting by a single spur gear rotating in a free oil environment. The test rig allows the gear to rotate at high speed within a box where pressure and temperature conditions can be set and monitored. An electric spindle, which drives the system, is connected to the gear through a high accuracy torque meter, equipped with a speedometer providing the rotating velocity. The test box is fitted with optical accesses in order to perform particle image velocimetry (PIV) measurements for investigating the flow field surrounding the rotating gear. The experiment has been computationally replicated, performing Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes (RANS) simulations in the context of conventional eddy viscosity models, achieving good agreement for all of the speed of rotations.

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