Planetary gears are widely used in the industry due to their advantages of compactness, high power-to-weight ratios, high efficiency, and so on. However, planetary gears such as that in wind turbine transmissions always operate under dynamic conditions with internal and external load fluctuations, which accelerate the occurrence of gear failures, such as tooth crack, pitting, spalling, wear, scoring, scuffing, etc. As one of these failure modes, gear tooth crack at the tooth root due to tooth bending fatigue or excessive load is investigated; how it influences the dynamic features of planetary gear system is studied. The applied tooth root crack model can simulate the propagation process of the crack along tooth width and crack depth. With this approach, the mesh stiffness of gear pairs in mesh is obtained and incorporated into a planetary gear dynamic model to investigate the effects of the tooth root crack on the planetary gear dynamic responses. Tooth root cracks on the sun gear and on the planet gear are considered, respectively, with different crack sizes and inclination angles. Finally, analysis regarding the influence of tooth root crack on the dynamic responses of the planetary gear system is performed in time and frequency domains, respectively. Moreover, the differences in the dynamic features of the planetary gear between the cases that tooth root crack on the sun gear and on the planet gear are found.

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