We’ve learned several methods to increase the torque of an electric motor through our series of articles on gear trains. One way is to attach a gear train to the motor’s shaft, a relatively simple thing to do. Today we’ll begin our exploration into how this method involves a tradeoff. It comes at the cost of speed. We’ll begin our examination of the tradeoff at play by linking together key elements learned through past blogs on the subject of gear trains. We’ll revisit those lessons through flashbacks. The first flashback we’ll make is to a blog entitled, Gear Ratio Formulas. There we learned that within a simple gear train consisting of two gears, the type most commonly employed to manipulate a motor’s torque, the ratio between the two gears, R, is relative to the ratio of their gear teeth, N. N is determined by the number of teeth each gear has in combination with the speeds, n, that each gear is going: R = N_{Driven} ÷ N_{Driving } = n_{Driving} ÷ n_{Driven} (1) The second flashback we’ll make is to a blog entitled, The Methodology Behind Gear Train Torque Conversions, in which we learned that the ratio of the torque, T, that exists between the gears is relative to the ratio of their respective pitch diameters, D: T_{Driving} ÷ T_{Driven} = D_{Driving} ÷ D_{Driven } (2) The tradeoff we’ve been alluding to comes in when gear speed, n_{Driven}, represented in equation (1), is decreased, which results in an increase to T_{Driven} in equation (2). But in order to see this we’ve got to somehow link the two equations together. In their present form there’s no common link between them. Or is there? There actually is an indirect link between the two equations, which comes by way of the torque equation presented in another past blog. The third flashback we’ll make is to the blog discussing that subject, which is entitled, The Relationship Between Torque and Horsepower. Using facts presented in that blog, the torque equations for our two gears become: T_{Driving} = [HP_{Driving} ÷ n_{Driving}] × 63,025 (3) T_{Driven} = [HP_{Driven} ÷ n_{Driven}] × 63,025 (4) Where’s the link between equations (1) and (2)? To answer that question we must reference a physics law known as The Law of Conservation of Energy . It states that the energy flowing from one gear to another within a gear train remains constant. Energy equates to horsepower, HP, in equations (3) and (4). So if the horsepower flowing through the gears is equal, our working equation becomes: HP_{Driving} = HP_{Driven } (5) Next time we’ll see how equation (5) is key to linking together equations (1) and (2) by way of equations (3) and (4). In so doing we’ll disclose the tradeoff to using gear trains. _______________________________________

Posts Tagged ‘motor shaft’
The Gear Train Tradeoff
Tuesday, August 5th, 2014The Relationship Between Torque and Horsepower
Tuesday, July 15th, 2014 We’ve been discussing gear trains for some time now, and last time we posed the question: Why even bother using a gear train and performing complex computations to arrive at a desired torque for an application? Why not just use a bigger motor to start with? Today we’ll see why.
First, we must acknowledge that sometimes higher torque is achieved by simply using a more powerful motor. But sometimes this isn’t possible or practical. To begin our discussion, we must first understand how torque is related to motor power, the amount of mechanical work a motor can perform. Torque is in fact a function of how much mechanical power a motor produces. In the United States motor power is typically measured in units of horsepower. The following equation illustrates the relationship between torque, horsepower, and motor speed: T = [HP ÷ n] × 63,025 where T is the motor shaft’s torque in units of inchpounds, HP is the motor’s horsepower, and n is the speed of the motor shaft in revolutions per minute (RPM). The number 63,025 in the equation is a constant used to convert the units of horsepower and RPM into units of torque (inch pounds). This equation applies to all sources of mechanical power. Its versatility enables design engineers to easily determine if a mechanical power source can deliver the torque required to drive a particular piece of machinery. The torque equation above tells us that in order to get a higher torque T for a given speed n, you’ll have to get a motor with a higher HP. Put another way, if your speed remains constant and you use a motor with higher horsepower, you’ll get more torque for your application simply by increasing the horsepower. Next time we’ll plug numbers into our equation and see how it all works. _______________________________________
