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Mechanical tests are performed to evaluate the durability of gears under load. Gear tooth failures occur in two distinct regions, namely, the tooth flank and the root fillet. This article describes the common failure modes such as scoring, wear, and pitting, on tooth flanks. Failures in root fillets are primarily due to bending fatigue but can be precipitated by sudden overloading (impact). The article presents contact stress computations for gear tooth flank and bending stress computations for root fillets. Specimen characterization is a critical part of any fatigue test program because it enables meaningful interpretation of the results. The article describes four areas of the characterizations: dimensional, surface finish/texture, metallurgical, and residual stress. The rolling contact fatigue test, single-tooth fatigue test, single-tooth single-overload test, and single-tooth impact test are some of the gear action simulating tests discussed in the article.

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