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Types of Gears

Types of Gears

A gear is a machine element in which teeth are cut in cylindrical or conical shape of equal spacing to transmit rotations and forces from the driving shaft to the driven shaft. They can be classified in terms of shape as cycloidal, trochoidal or involute gears. Gears were invented in Greece by Archimedes.

Gear is used to increase the driving motor to the driving equipment torque, reduce the motor's generated speed, and change the direction of rotating shafts. Couplings, chains, hollow shaft connections and belts are used for connecting equipment with a gearbox.

If the power is kept constant, speed and torque are inversely proportional to each other. Therefore, torque increases if the speed decreases and vice versa. This is because the gears are present in the heart of a gear drive. By fixing one gear with another, gears operate in pairs to transfer power.

Gear is designed with respect to the number of teeth, helix angle, module, face width, standard of precision grade, need for teeth grinding, allowable torque and efficiency, etc.

It is very crucial to understand how gear works. Moreover, it is necessary to learn the differences in these gears to achieve a particular force transmission in the mechanical designs. There are different types of gear. Let us learn about them.

1. Spur gear – The gears that have cylindrical pitch surfaces are known as cylindrical gears. The shaft of spur gear is parallel and straight. They also have a tooth line. Spur gears are mostly used to achieve high accuracy with relatively easy production processes. They have no characteristic load in the axial direction. The smaller meshing pair is called pinion, and the larger one is called gear.

2. Helical gear – They have winding tooth lines and are used with parallel shafts like spur gears. They can transmit higher loads than spur gears due to the presence of better teeth meshing. While using helical gears, thrust bearings should reduce the thrust force in the axial direction. They come with a right hand and left-hand twist that requires opposite hand gears to create a pair of mesh.

3. Gear rack – A gear rack is produced if the teeth and gear size are cut equally along a flat surface or a straight rod. It is a cylindrical gear whose pitch radius is infinite. It converts rotational motion into linear motion by meshing with a gear pinion. They can be divided into helical tooth racks and straight tooth racks. However, both have straight tooth lines. We can connect gear racks end to end by joining their ends.

4. Bevel gear – They are conical in shape and transmit force between two shafts by intersecting to each other. It has conical teeth that are cut along the conical pitch surface. There are different types of bevel gears, such as helical bevel gear, straight bevel gear, spiral bevel gear, mitre gear, crown gear, angular bevel gear, hypoid gear and zerol bevel gear.

5. Spiral bevel gear – They are bevel gears with tooth lines in the form of a sphere. They are superior to straight bevel gears due to the higher tooth contact ratio. This increases strength, efficiency, noise and vibration in spiral bevel gears. They create thrust forces in the axial direction because of their curved teeth. The spiral bevel gear with a zero twisting angle is known as zero bevel gear.

6. Screw gear – These are non-intersecting and non-parallel gears. They are the pair of same hand helical gears whose twist angle is equal to 45 degrees. They are not suitable for large power transmissions because the contact point is very less, a point-like content, which makes their load-carrying capacity lower than other gears. They must be lubricated from time to time as they work by sliding, which requires regular greasing for their teeth to work efficiently. As far as the combinations of the number of teeth are concerned, there are no restrictions.

7. Mitre gear – The bevel gears with a speed ratio equal to unity are known as mitre gears. They are used to change the direction of power transmission without changing the speed. Mitre gears can be found in two shapes, i.e. spiral and straight. Spiral mitre gears produce thrust force in the axial direction. Therefore, thrust bearings must be used while using spiral mitre gear. They are available in different angles, due to which they are known as angular mitre gears.

8. Worm gear – A worm gear consists of a screw-shaped shaft, called a worm, and a mating gear called a worm wheel. There are different shapes of worm and worm wheels. The hourglass worm gear is used to increase the contact ratio. Due to frequent sliding operations, worm gears wear and tear frequently. Therefore, it is necessary to choose a harder material for their manufacturing. It has a self-locking feature, due to which the rotation is smoother and quieter.

9. Internal gear – They have teeth cut on the inside and are paired with the outside external gears. For the proper functioning of internal gears, the shape of the teeth must equally fit with the external gear.


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