Thin rimmed and webbed gears are used in particular applications to reduce systems weight. This kind of gears need an accurate and fail safe design. As a matter of fact, a possible failure, due to bending fatigue, consists in crack nucleation and consequent growth, in particular in the tooth root zone. These cracks may propagate through the tooth or through the rim. Crack propagation direction is basically influenced by the wheel geometry parameters, above all the rim thickness. Studies available in literature emphasize three ranges for the backup ratio values, involving different behaviors. These ranges are related to the crack propagation paths; respectively through the tooth, through the rim and in an unforeseeable way. This last uncertainty zone depends on other parameters, related to both geometry and loading conditions. In this work the effect of wheel
speed related to the bending load has been investigated. The investigation has been carried out by means of
numerical models involving both 2D finite element and extended finite element models (XFEM). Results shows
that both crack initiation point and crack propagation path are strongly influenced by centrifugal load; this
effect is mainly evident in the uncertainty zone of the backup ratio.
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