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Isotropic Finishing of Helicopter and Turboprop Gearbox Components

By: William P. Nebiolo, REM Chemicals, Inc.

Technical Papers and White Papers

The traditional finishing techniques for engineered gearbox surfaces include but are not limited to hob shaving, gear grinding and honing. Regardless of the technique employed, a unidirectional polishing pattern is achieved as the final component surface finish. This pattern consists of parallel rows of asperities peaks that undergo fracturing and pulverization during the initial gearbox break-in period. This critical time results in high heat generation, high frictional force loading of the opposing engineered surfaces, metal chips in the lubricant and the initiation of future pitting or catastrophic metallurgical failure sites. By refining the engineered surfaces with an isotropic finishing process a final, non-directional surface finish is obtained. This isotropic finish requires no break-in, maintains cooler gearbox operational temperatures, generates no metal chips and most importantly, dramatically reduces the initiation of future pitting and/or metallurgical failure of gearbox components.

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