Compact and energy efficient transmissions – control and prediction of functional surface behavior

Project time: 2016 – 2018

Budget: 8 600 000 SEK

Funding: FFI – Strategic Vehicle Research and Innovation

The overall objective of the project was to: • Develop simulation methodology for drive simulation of transmissions with given shape, surface topography and surface structure, - for more robust and better prediction of the efficiency and life of gear contacts in gearboxes. • Through experimental evaluation and characterization, support and verify the developed simulation technology • Through experimental evaluation and characterization, further verifying the potential of using the correct surface texture, e.g. honing, and right-handed gear in heavy-duty transmissions.

Transmissions have been a key system for the Swedish automotive industry, which has maintained both development, construction, research and also production in Sweden. Even if the propulsion system of the vehicle is transformed into an electrical system with electric motors, studies have clearly shown that the weight of the electric motors can be drastically reduced by combining them with gear gears. The gears surface and surface properties that are created during manufacture are of major importance for surface durability during operation. A potential to reduce friction loss by 30% with properly manufactured and in-use surface topography after running has previously been shown. In view of these promising results, there was reason to steer the research more towards the design of the manufactured surface itself and link it to its behaviour in connection with the running-in. This project has developed simulation methodology for simulation of geared transmissions with given shape, surface topography and surface structure, for more robust and better prediction of the efficiency and life of gear contacts in gearboxes.

An FZG trial for efficiency studies that have been modified to enable in situ measurement of surface topography and gear temperature was used in the project. Here, an evaluation methodology has also been developed to distinguish surface topography from form errors and teeth profile. A simulation methodology has also been developed, where surface topography and wear can be predicted on the surfaces. This simulation methodology is used as a basis for further development, how surface topography and shape affect surface integrity of gear transmissions. The gears surface changes and develops in several ways at initial load, run-in and still loads. Asperities on the surface are plasticized and parallel bands are formed in the microstructure within a few microns below the surface. These bands have been linked to cracking and initiation of micropits. Through the experimental evaluation and characterization, the project has evaluated the potential for using the correct surface texture, for example honing and by proper operation, get the most favourable characteristics of a gearbox in heavy vehicle transmissions.

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