WIT Press

Dynamic modeling of gears: an innovative hybrid FEM–analytical approach


Free (open access)


Volume 9 (2021), Issue 2



Page Range

117 - 125

Paper DOI



WIT Press


Franco Concli & Concli Gorla


Gearboxes are widely used in several applications ranging from the automotive to the industrial and robotic sectors. A planetary gearbox is a special kinematic gear arrangement that, taking advantage of a planet carrier, ensures high reduction ratios together with a very small design. Therefore, they are widely employed for transmissions which require a high power density. There are several fields of applications including, but not limited to, mechatronic, automation and wind power generation. To improve the design of new solutions, for performing monitoring activities on actual gearboxes and for the definition of maintenance schedules, the availability of physical models able to accurately describe the behavior of the system, both in healthy and damaged conditions, would represent a great support. Experimental and numerical studies of the behavior of gearboxes are already available in the literature. Nevertheless, while the experimental approaches are valid only for the specific configuration tested, the numerical techniques show limitations related to the computational effort required. This paper presents an innovative approach for the characterization of the behavior of two different geared transmissions. It is based on a hybrid approach that combines finite elements (FE) with analytical formulations. In detail, the solver computes separately the macro deformation of the bodies (numerical solution based on a coarse grid) and the contacts (solved analytically avoiding the need of mesh refinements). The computational effort is reduced significantly without affecting the accuracy of the results significantly. This approach was used to investigate and understand the vibro-dynamical behavior of a back-to-back test rig (typically used for the characterization of the surface fatigue strength of gears) and of an indus- trial planetary gearbox. The results obtained for the healthy – not damaged – gearboxes were compared with experimental measurements for both configurations in order to validate the hybrid approach. Once the models were validated, the same methodology was eventually used to study the effects of typical gear failures and in specifically surface fatigue (pitting), on the vibrational response. The capability to reproduce the effect of damages with the model of a gearbox represents the first indispensable step of a Structural Health Monitoring strategy. State-of-art and challenges are analyzed and discussed in the paper.


experimental, gears, hybrid FE–analytical approach, SHM, simulation, Transmission3D.