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Understanding Spur Gear Anatomy

November 12, 2019

Understanding Spur Gear Anatomy

There’s no denying the utility of gears in mechanical devices we rely on every day. Spur gears in particular remain one of the most commonly used gear type. Used in applications that require the connection of parallel shafts – spur-type gears are cylindrical in profile and feature shafts that are parallel and coplanar.


Today we’ll break it down to the basics by examining the various types and components of spur gears.


Teeth Profile


Spur-type gears have straight teeth which are fixed on parallel shafts. Gear teeth are manufactured in either one of two primary profiles: involute and cycloidal. Most gears are manufactured in accordance with the former. The involute profile produces radial forces (as opposed to axial forces), but the process of tooth meshing can lead to increased teeth stress and loud noise. It is for this reason that these gears tend to be used more for lower speed operations, despite their ability to be used for most speed demands.


Internal and External Gears


Spur-type gears are categorized into two main groups: external and internal gears. The teeth of two external gears come together and mesh – rotating in opposite directions. Internal gears feature teeth fixed on its internal surface, and the external gear rotates around the inside surface of the internal gear. In internal gear configurations, the shafts must be more compact – making internal gears popular for planetary gear drive operations.


Operations and Applications


Spur gears are optimal for applications that necessitate a certain degree of speed and torque (power) multiplication. Common applications that require increased power include washing machines, blenders, clothes dryers, constriction equipment, and crushing mills. A couple examples of the use of spur-type gears for increasing speed include mechanical clocks and hand-held egg beaters.


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