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Apr 2008 Newsletter - Transmissions Vol 1, 2008

Vol. 1, 2008

GRI Newsletter

We are pleased to publish our current newsletter in electronic form. The Gear Research Institute has celebrated its 25 year anniversary (1982-2007) and the 11th year of its relationship with the Pennsylvania State University’s Applied Research Laboratory. From a largely, group-sponsored activity (cooperative, pre-competitive research) the current activities at the Institute are more single-client focused with only the Aerospace Bloc continuing as an active research group. However, this Bloc has grown and now consists of Avio, Boeing, Curtiss Wright, Honeywell, Latrobe Steel, United Technologies (Pratt & Whitney-Canada, Pratt & Whitney-East Hartford and Sikorsky), Rolls Royce, REM Chemicals and Timken as members. Single-client sponsors have included a variety of aerospace gear manufacturers, gear manufacturing process developers and P/M gear manufacturers, utilizing their internal R&D funds or channeling Federal research money to the Institute. The Institute is managed by a nine member tri-partite Board of Trustees consisting of three members nominated by the AGMA, three members nominated by the ASME and three members nominated by the membership of the Institute. The board meets twice a year; the last meeting was held on February 7, 2008 in Lynwood, WA. The next meeting will be held on August 12, 2008 at Penn State. We will publish this newsletter approximately twice a year. Additional insights and information about the GRI are available at our website at

Suren Rao
Managing Director

Research Projects

Two macro technological trends have driven the research efforts at the Institute. One of these trends has been the increasing use of High Hot Hardness steels in aircraft gears. Projects to establish design allowable stresses for these advanced steels and compare their performance to traditional steels have been prolific. These include testing at higher temperatures as shown in figure 1, and increasing use of instrumentation to monitor the higher temperatures in running gear tests. Impact testing to characterize the impact resistance of these new alloys has also been developed and utilized. The other technological trend, resulting in sponsored project efforts at the Institute, is increasing use of powder metal alloys in critical components that are subject to rolling and sliding. Comparing the best P/M products to conventional, wrought steel products has been a significant activity. One of the recent additions to our inventory of gear testers is an FZG test rig donated to the Institute by the AGMA, shown in figure 2.


Figure 1. Bending Fatigue Tests at High Temperature


Figure 2. FZG Power re-Circulating Gear Test Rig

Education and Training

While supporting education has always been a part of the Institute’s mission and a shortage of gear engineers to service industry’s needs is real, finding financial resources to support students working at the Institute has always been a challenge. In response to this need the Institute’s Board of Trustees have provided a grant in 2008 to pay the tuition fees of at least two graduate students, for two semesters. This grant is currently supporting one Mechanical Engineering student working towards his MS degree. He is examining the rolling/sliding contact fatigue test for his thesis topic. The remaining portion of the grant is now planned to support an undergraduate for a summer internship at the Institute.

The Gear Research Institute is a non profit corporation. It has contracted with the Applied Research Laboratory of The Pennsylvania State University to conduct its activities, as a sponsor within the Drivetrain Technology Center. The Gear Research Institute is equipped with extensive research capabilities. These include rolling contact fatigue (RCF) testers for low- and high-temperature roller testing, power circulating (PC) gear testers for parallel axis gears with a 4-inch center distance (testers can be modified to accommodate other center distances), single tooth fatigue (STF) testers for spur and helical gears, gear tooth impact tester, and worm gear testers with 1.75 and 4-inch center distances. Extensive metallurgical characterization facilities are also available at Penn State in support of the Gear Research Institute. For further details on our testing capabilities please go to the Drivetrain Technology Center website or call Dr. Suren Rao, Managing Director, at (814) 865-3537.

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