A mathematical model for surface fatigue life of gear, pinion, or entire meshing gear train is given. The theory is based on the statistical approach used by Lundberg and Palmgren for rolling-element bearings. Also equations are presented which give the dynamic capacity of the gear set. The dynamic capacity is the transmitted tangential load which gives a 90 percent probability of survival of the gear set for one million pinion revolutions. The analytical results were compared with test data for a set of AISI 9310 spur gears operating at a maximum Hertz stress of 1.71 × 109 N/m2 (248,000 psi) and 10,000 rpm. The theoretical life predictions were very good when material constants obtained from rolling-element bearing tests were used in the gear life model.

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