Damage Mechanisms in Injection Molded Unreinforced, Glass and Carbon Reinforced Nylon 66 Spur Gears

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Application of short fiber reinforced thermoplastic materials are limited to functionally less important components due to heterogeneous characteristics of material and incomplete understanding of failure mechanisms involved. Reinforcement not only affects mechanical and electrical properties but also the failure mechanisms. Gears used in power/motion transmission may fail in many ways. This paper discusses the various types of failures exhibited by unreinforced and fiber reinforced Nylon 66 gears. Injection molded unreinforced, glass reinforced and carbon reinforced Nylon 66 spur gears were tested in a power absorption type gear test rig. Failed gears were observed under optical and scanning electron microscope to understand the damage mechanism. Different types of failures such as gear tooth wear, cracking at the tooth surface, tooth root cracking and severe tooth shape deformation were observed. Material compositions and applied torque decides the type of failure mechanism. Low interfacial strength between fibers and matrix in the reinforced gears causes fiber pullout. Reinforced gears exhibited longer life compared with the unreinforced gears due to superior mechanical strength and thermal resistance.

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