The concepts of system reliability are applied for the structural reliability analysis and design of epicyclic gear trains. The reliability analysis is based on the representation of an epicyclic gear train as a series-parallel network. The power transmitted, the speed of the input shaft, the center distance between the gear pairs and the permissible stresses are assumed to be random variables following normal distribution. The layout of the gears and the speed ratios are assumed to be known. The face widths of the gears are taken as random design parameters. The design criterion is that the reliability of the gear train either in bending or surface wear failure mode at any of the output speeds must be equal to a specified value. The design of an epicyclic transmission system which gives four forward speeds and one reverse speed is considered for illustration. The results of the reliability-based design of the gear train are compared with those of the conventional deterministic design.

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