Material of Metal Gears
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Material of Metal Gears

Views:2     Author:Site Editor     Publish Time: 2020-08-07      Origin:Thomasnet b2b website


Gear steels may be divided into two general classes — the plain carbon and the alloy steels. Alloy steels are used to some extent in the industrial field, but heat-treated plain carbon steels are far more common. The use of untreated alloy steels for gears is seldom, if ever, justified, and then, only when heat-treating facilities are lacking. The points to be considered in determining whether to use heat-treated plain carbon steels or heat-treated alloy steels are: Does the service condition or design require the superior characteristics of the alloy steels, or, if alloy steels are not required, will the advantages to be derived offset the additional cost? For most applications, plain carbon steels, heat-treated to obtain the best of their qualities for the service intended, are satisfactory and quite economical. The advantages obtained from using heat-treated alloy steels in place of heat-treated plain carbon steels are as follows:


Increased surface hardness and depth of hardness penetration for the same carbon content and quench.

Ability to obtain the same surface hardness with a less drastic quench and, in the case of some of the alloys, a lower quenching temperature, thus giving less distortion.

Increased toughness, as indicated by the higher values of yield point, elongation, and reduction of area.

Finer grain size, with the resulting higher impact toughness and increased wear resistance.

In the case of some of the alloys, better machining qualities or the possibility of machining at higher hardness.

Use of Casehardening Steels

Each of the two general classes of gear steels may be further subdivided as follows:

Casehardening steels;

full-hardening steels;

3) steels that are heat-treated and drawn to a hardness that will permit machining.


The first two — casehardening and full-hardening steels — are interchangeable for some kinds of service, and the choice is often a matter of personal opinion. Casehardening steels with their extremely hard, fine-grained (when properly treated) case and comparatively soft and ductile core are generally used when resistance to wear is desired. Casehardening alloy steels have a fairly tough core, but not as tough as that of the full-hardening steels. In order to realize the greatest benefits from the core properties, casehardened steels should be double-quenched. This is particularly true of the alloy steels, because the benefits derived from their use seldom justify the additional expense, unless the core is refined and toughened by a second quench. The penalty that must be paid for the additional refinement is increased distortion, which may be excessive if the shape or design does not lend itself to the casehardening process.


Use of “Thru-Hardening” Steels


Thru-hardening steels are used when great strength, high endurance limit, toughness, and resistance to shock are required. These qualities are governed by the kind of steel and treatment used. Fairly high surface hardness are obtainable in this group, though not so high as those of the casehardening steels. For that reason, the resistance to wear is not so great as might be obtained, but when wear resistance combined with great strength and toughness is required, this type of steel is superior to the others. Thru-hardening steels become distorted to some extent when hardened, the amount depending upon the steel and quenching medium used. For that reason, thru-hardening steels are not suitable for high-speed gearing where noise is a factor, or for gearing where accuracy is of paramount importance, except, of course, in cases where grinding of the teeth is practicable. The medium and high-carbon percentages require an oil quench, but a water quench may be necessary for the lower carbon contents, in order to obtain the highest physical properties and hardness. The distortion, however, will be greater with the water quench.


Heat-Treatment that Permits Machining


When the grinding of gear teeth is not practicable and a high degree of accuracy is required, hardened steels may be drawn or tempered to a hardness that will permit the cutting of the teeth. This treatment gives a highly refined structure, great toughness, and, in spite of the low hardness, excellent wearing qualities. The lower strength is somewhat compensated for by the elimination of the increment loads due to the impacts which are caused by inaccuracies. When steels that have a low degree of hardness penetration from surface to core are treated in this manner, the design cannot be based on the physical properties corresponding to the hardness at the surface. Since the physical properties are determined by the hardness, the drop in hardness from surface to core will give lower physical properties at the root of the tooth, where the stress is greatest. The quenching medium may be either oil, water, or brine, depending on the steel used and hardness penetration desired. The amount of distortion, of course, is immaterial, because the machining is done after heat-treating.


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