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**gear**is a component within a transmission device that transmits rotational force to another gear or device. A gear is different from a pulley in that a gear is a round wheel which has linkages, "teeth," that mesh with other gear teeth, allowing force to be fully transferred without slippage. Depending on their construction and arrangement, geared devices can transmit forces at different speeds, torques, or in a different direction, from the power source.

The most common situation is for a gear to mesh with another gear, but a gear can mesh with any device having compatible teeth, such as other rotational gears, or linear moving racks. A gear's most important feature is that gears of unequal sizes (diameters) can be combined to produce a mechanical advantage, so that the rotational speed and torque of the second gear are different from that of the first.

In the context of a particular machine, the term "gear" also refers to one particular arrangement of gears among other arrangements (such as "first gear"). Such arrangements are often given as a ratio, using the number of teeth or gear diameter as units. The term "gear" is also used in non-geared devices which perform equivalent tasks:

"...broadly speaking, a gear refers to a ratio of engine shaft speed to driveshaft speed. Although CVTs change this ratio without using a set of planetary gears, they are still described as having low and high "gears" for the sake of convention."

**General**

The interlocking of the teeth in a pair of meshing gears means that their circumferences necessarily move at the same rate of linear motion (eg., metres per second, or feet per minute). Since rotational speed (eg. measured in revolutions per second, revolutions per minute, or radians per second) is proportional to a wheel's circumferential speed

*divided by its radius*, we see that the larger the radius of a gear, the slower will be its rotational speed, when meshed with a gear of given size and speed. The same conclusion can also be reached by a different analytical process: counting teeth. Since the teeth of two meshing gears are locked in a one to one correspondence, when all of the teeth of the smaller gear have passed the point where the gears meet -- ie., when the smaller gear has made one revolution -- not all of the teeth of the larger gear will have passed that point -- the larger gear will have made less than one revolution. The smaller gear makes more revolutions in a given period of time; it turns faster. The speed ratio is simply the reciprocal ratio of the numbers of teeth on the two gears!

(Speed A * Number of teeth A) = (Speed B * Number of teeth B)

This ratio is known as the gear ratio.

The torque ratio can be determined by considering the force that a tooth of one gear exerts on a tooth of the other gear. Consider two teeth in contact at a point on the line joining the shaft axes of the two gears. In general, the force will have both a radial and a circumferential component. The radial component can be ignored: it merely causes a sideways push on the shaft and does not contribute to turning. The circumferential component causes turning. The torque is equal to the circumferential component of the force

*times radius*. Thus we see that the larger gear experiences greater torque; the smaller gear less. The torque ratio is equal to the ratio of the radii. This is exactly the inverse of the case with the velocity ratio. Higher torque implies lower velocity and vice versa. The fact that the torque ratio is the inverse of the velocity ratio could also be inferred from the law of conservation of energy. Here we have been neglecting the effect of friction on the torque ratio. The velocity ratio is truly given by the tooth or size ratio, but friction will cause the torque ratio to be actually somewhat less than the inverse of the velocity ratio.

In the above discussion we have made mention of the gear "radius". Since a gear is not a proper circle but a roughened circle, it does not have a radius. However, in a pair of meshing gears, each may be considered to have an effective radius, called the

*pitch radius*, the pitch radii being such that smooth wheels of those radii would produce the same velocity ratio that the gears actually produce. The pitch radius can be considered sort of an "average" radius of the gear, somewhere between the outside radius of the gear and the radius at the base of the teeth.

The issue of pitch radius brings up the fact that the point on a gear tooth where it makes contact with a tooth on the mating gear varies during the time the pair of teeth are engaged; also the direction of force may vary. As a result, the velocity ratio (and torque ratio) is not, actually, in general, constant, if one considers the situation in detail, over the course of the period of engagement of a single pair of teeth. The velocity and torque ratios given at the beginning of this section are valid only "in bulk" -- as long-term averages; the values at some particular position of the teeth may be different.

It is in fact possible to choose tooth shapes that will result in the velocity ratio also being absolutely constant -- in the short term as well as the long term. In good quality gears this is usually done, since velocity ratio fluctuatons cause undue vibration, and put additional stress on the teeth, which can cause tooth breakage under heavy loads at high speed. Constant velocity ratio may also be desirable for precision in instrumentation gearing, clocks and watches. The involute tooth shape is one that results in a constant velocity ratio, and is the most commonly used of such shapes today.

**Mechanical advantage**

The definite velocity ratio which results from having teeth gives gears an advantage over other drives (such as traction drives and V-belts) in precision machines such as watches that depend upon an exact velocity ratio. In cases where driver and follower are in close proximity gears also have an advantage over other drives in the reduced number of parts required; the downside is that gears are more expensive to manufacture and their lubrication requirements may impose a higher operating cost.

The automobile transmission allows selection between gears to give various mechanical advantages.

**Spur gears**

*Helical gears*offer a refinement over spur gears. The leading edges of the teeth are not parallel to the axis of rotation, but are set at an angle. Since the gear is curved, this angling causes the tooth shape to be a segment of a helix. The angled teeth engage more gradually than do spur gear teeth. This causes helical gears to run more smoothly and quietly than spur gears. Helical gears also offer the possibility of using non-parallel shafts. A pair of helical gears can be meshed in two ways: with shafts oriented at either the sum or the difference of the helix angles of the gears. These configurations are referred to as

*parallel*or

*crossed*, respectively. The parallel configuration is the more mechanically sound. In it, the helices of a pair of meshing teeth meet at a common tangent, and the contact between the tooth surfaces will, generally, be a curve extending some distance across their face widths. In the crossed configuration, the helices do not meet tangentially, and only point contact is achieved between tooth surfaces. Because of the small gagoarea of contact, crossed helical gears can only be used with light loads.

Quite commonly, helical gears come in pairs where the helix angle of one is the negative of the helix angle of the other; such a pair might also be referred to as having a right handed helix and a left handed helix of equal angles. If such a pair is meshed in the 'parallel' mode, the two equal but opposite angles add to zero: the angle between shafts is zero -- that is, the shafts are parallel. If the pair is meshed in the 'crossed' mode, the angle between shafts will be twice the absolute value of either helix angle.

Note that 'parallel' helical gears need not have parallel shafts -- this only occurs if their helix angles are equal but opposite. The 'parallel' in 'parallel helical gears' must refer, if anything, to the (quasi) parallelism of the teeth, not to the shaft orientation.

As mentioned at the start of this section, helical gears operate more smoothly than do spur gears. With parallel helical gears, each pair of teeth first make contact at a single point at one side of the gear wheel; a moving curve of contact then grows gradually across the tooth face. It may span the entire width of the tooth for a time. Finally, it recedes until the teeth break contact at a single point on the opposite side of the wheel. Thus force is taken up and released gradually. With spur gears, the situation is quite different. When a pair of teeth meet, they immediately make line contact across their entire width. This causes impact stress and noise. Spur gears make a characteristic whine at high speeds and can not take as much torque as helical gears because their teeth are receiving impact blows. Whereas spur gears are used for low speed applications and those situations where noise control is not a problem, the use of helical gears is indicated when the application involves high speeds, large power transmission, or where noise abatement is important. The speed is considered to be high when the pitch line velocity (that is, the circumferential velocity) exceeds 5000 ft/min. A disadvantage of helical gears is a resultant thrust along the axis of the gear, which needs to be accommodated by appropriate thrust bearings, and a greater degree of sliding friction between the meshing teeth, often addressed with specific additives in the lubricant.

**Helical gears**

*Double helical gears*, invented by André Citroën and also known as herringbone gears, overcome the problem of axial thrust presented by 'single' helical gears by having teeth that set in a 'V' shape. Each gear in a double helical gear can be thought of as two standard, but mirror image, helical gears stacked. This cancels out the thrust since each half of the gear thrusts in the opposite direction. They can be directly interchanged with spur gears without any need for different bearings.

Where the oppositely angled teeth meet in the middle of a herringbone gear, the alignment may be such that tooth tip meets tooth tip, or the alignment may be staggered, so that tooth tip meets tooth trough. The latter type of alignment results in what is known as a

**Wuest type**herringbone gear.

With the older method of fabrication, herringbone gears had a central channel separating the two oppositely-angled courses of teeth. This was necessary to permit the shaving tool to run out of the groove. The development of the Sykes gear shaper now makes it possible to have continuous teeth, with no central gap.

**Double helical gears**

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