The efficiency of power and propulsive systems is increasingly being targeted as a means of reducing environmental impact. This has caused a renewed interest in industry in the losses associated with meshing gears. Gearbox efficiency varies from 98% to 99% for the best designed high power applications, but that can still equate to losses in megawatts. There are different mechanisms for losses that have been identified within gearboxes; these are meshing losses, bearing losses, windage losses, and churning losses. Depending on the application, the relative importance of these mechanisms varies. This paper reviews information on windage power loss. The motivation for this is that for some applications, this power loss can be a significant component, particularly lightly loaded high-speed applications. For instance, within some aeroengines, gears are mounted internally within bearing chambers. The component of windage power loss becomes significant in this case, and the flows associated with windage power loss have a significant impact on the amount of heat transferred to the oil within the chamber, which is a critical design consideration. This paper provides a review of experimental investigations and available models of gear windage power loss for spur, helical, and bevel gears. The aim of the review is to provide a comprehensive compilation of published information on windage power loss to assist gearbox designers in identifying relevant experimental and modeling information. While it is clear from the review of published work that the rotational speed, gear geometrical parameters, degree of confinement, and density of the fluid surrounding the gear are important, the degree of effect and general solutions for reducing power loss are less clear.

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