A gear is a rotating machine element used to transmit torque from one shaft to another via the teeth machined into the gear. Gears mesh with gears of similar teeth profiles, allowing for the transmission of power from a driving shaft to the driven one. Gears carry out a broad range of functions and therefore come in many types. In this blog, we will cover five of the most common types of gears and their characteristics.
The first and most common type of gear is the spur gear. Its simplicity and effectiveness makes it ideal for many uses. In a spur gear, the teeth are parallel and straight-cut on a cylindrical body. Spur gears use the parallel axes in mated pairs. They are ideal for moderate load and speed applications, and are generally used where noise and vibration are not an issue.
The second type of gears, helical gears, are similar to spur gears in design and use. However, in helical gears, the teeth are angled such that if they were extended they would form a helix around the shaft. Helical gear teeth gradually come into contact with each other, allowing them to avoid impact loading of the teeth. Another feature of gradual loading is that more than one part of teeth are in contact at a time. This allows helical gears to sustain higher loads than spur gears, and makes them ideal for high loads and high-speed applications.
The next type of gear is the bevel gear. They are cone-shaped and feature teeth on the conical surface. Among the most common uses for bevel gears is for changing the power transmission axis. Due to the design of bevel gears, when two mating teeth come into contact, the contact takes place all at once instead of gradually. This creates more noise and can cause excessive stress on the gear tooth, ultimately affecting the durability and service life of the bevel gear.
The next type of gear is the mitre gear, which is used in machines to change the direction of rotation. Mitre gears can be straight or spiralled, each offering their own advantages and limitations. Mitre gears commonly engage at 90 degrees, though they can be produced to mate at other angles as well. Mitre gears that mate at any other angle between 0 and 180 degrees are known as angular mitre gears. The most common range for angular mitre gears is between 45 and 120 degrees.
The final type of gear, the worm gear, works in conjunction with a worm gear drive. This device resembles a screw and meshes with a cylindrical gear to rotate. The worm gear system is used to transfer motion between two non-parallel, non-intersecting shafts. They are known for their high gear reduction ratios. Worm gears are ideal for use in applications that require self-locking mechanisms.
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