In this study, experimental and theoretical investigations of the effect of tooth spacing errors on the root stresses of spur gear pairs are performed. A test setup with instrumentation for the measurement of root stresses has been developed. A number of experiments were performed with gears having deterministic (at one or two teeth only) and random spacing errors (all teeth having a random distribution of errors as in a typical production gear). These experiments were simulated using a deformable-body gear contact model to describe the empirical trends physically. A methodology is proposed to relate increases in root stresses to the spacing error magnitudes directly. Closed-form expressions resulting from this methodology permit the determination of the stress amplification factors due to a certain range of spacing error tolerances as well as quantifying how much spacing error can be tolerated within a user defined stress limit.

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