Today we’ll analyze the relationship between the sizes of the gears within a gear train, as well as their torques, and get an understanding of how gear trains act as torque converters. Last time we developed a single torque equation for a simple gear train: T_{1 } ÷ D_{1} = T_{2 } ÷ D_{2} (1) where T_{1} and T_{2} are the driving and driven gear torques, and D_{1} and D_{2} are the driving and driven gear pitch circle radii. The first thing to be done in order to arrive at a torque conversion analysis is group together like terms in equation (1) so that we end up with terms relating to torque on one side of the equation and terms relating to gear size on the other. We’ll use algebra to divide both sides of the equation by T_{2 }, then multiply both sides by D_{1}. After doing so we get, T_{1} ÷ T_{2} = D_{1} ÷ D_{2} (2) In equation (2), T_{1 } ÷ T_{2} is a torque ratio. Ratio means we’re dividing one of the torques by the other. Likewise, D_{1 ÷} D_{2} is a gear pitch radius ratio, that is to say, it’s the ratio of one gear’s physical size relative to the physical size of the other. What equation (2) tells us is that the individual gears on the gear train will produce torque values which are dependent upon the physical sizes of the two gears with respect to one another. So what’s the practical significance of this? When gear trains are used in industrial applications, they always act as torque converters. One such example would be when a lowtorqueproducing electric motor is used to power a steel cutting lathe. If the motor isn’t tough enough to power the lathe, it itself won’t be modified, but the torque it produces will be. This modification is accomplished by converting the motor’s low torque value, T_{1}, to a higher torque value, T_{2} , and it’s equation (2) that’s used to do it. Next time we’ll delve deeper into the methodology behind gear train torque conversions. _______________________________________

Posts Tagged ‘torque’
Gear Trains Are Torque Converters and Why That’s Important
Friday, June 13th, 2014Equating Torques and Pitch Circle Radii Within a Gear Train
Thursday, May 29th, 2014
Last time we developed torque equations for the driving and driven gears within a simple gear train. They are, T_{1} = D_{1} × F T_{2} = D_{2} × F where, T_{1} and T_{2} are the driving and driven gear torques, D_{1} and D_{2} are the driving and driven gear pitch radii, and F is the resultant Force vector, the common factor between the two equations. Now we’ll combine these two equations relative to F to arrive at a single equation which equates the torques and pitch circle radii of the driving and driven gears in the gear train. This type of computation is commonly used to design gear trains to ensure they perform at a given level. As a first step we’ll use algebra to rearrange terms and place the two equations equal to F. First we’ll do it for the driving gear, dividing both sides of the equation by the pitch circle radius, D_{1}. T_{1 } ÷ D_{1} = D_{1} ÷ D_{1} × F T_{1 } ÷ D_{1}= 1 × F F = T_{1 } ÷ D_{1} In a similar fashion, we’ll do it for the driven gear by dividing both sides of the equation by the pitch circle radius, D_{2}. T_{2} = D_{2 } × F → F = T_{2 } ÷ D_{2} Since F is the common term between the two equations, we can set them up as equal to each other, F = T_{1 } ÷ D_{1} = T_{2 } ÷ D_{2} which means that, T_{1 } ÷ D_{1} = T_{2 } ÷ D_{2} Next time we’ll see how to use this equation to manipulate our gear train so that it acts as a torque converter by increasing T_{2} with respect to T_{1} and the ratio of D_{1} to D_{2}, thus providing a mechanical advantage to the electric motor the gear train is attached to. _______________________________________ 
Gear Train Torque Equations
Thursday, May 22nd, 2014
In our last blog we mathematically linked the driving and driven gear Force vectors to arrive at a single common vector F, known as the resultant Force vector. This simplification allows us to achieve common ground between F and the two Distance vectors of our driving and driven gears, represented as D_{1} and D_{2}. We can then use this commonality to develop individual torque equations for both gears in the train. In this illustration we clearly see that the Force vector, F, is at a 90º angle to the two Distance vectors, D_{1} and D_{2}. Let’s see why this angular relationship between them is crucial to the development of torque calculations. First a review of the basic torque formula, presented in a previous blog, Torque = Distance × Force × sin(ϴ) By inserting D_{1}, F, and ϴ = 90º into this formula we arrive at the torque calculation, T_{1 }, for the driving gear in our gear train: T_{1} = D_{1} × F × sin(90º) From a previous blog in this series we know that sin(90º) = 1, so it becomes, T_{1} = D_{1} × F By inserting D_{2}, F, and ϴ = 90º into the torque formula, we arrive at the torque calculation, T_{2 }, for the driven gear: T_{2} = D_{2} × F × sin(90º) T_{2} = D_{2} × F × 1 T_{2} = D_{2} × F Next week we’ll combine these two equations relative to F, the common link between them, and obtain a single equation equating the torques and pitch circle radii of the driving and driven gears in the gear train. _______________________________________ 
The Mathematical Link Between Gears in a Gear Train
Wednesday, May 14th, 2014
Last time we analyzed the angular relationship between the Force and Distance vectors in this simple gear train. Today we’ll discover a commonality between the two gears in this train which will later enable us to develop individual torque calculations for them. From the illustration it’s clear that the driving gear is mechanically linked to the driven gear by their teeth. Because they’re linked, force, and hence torque, is transmitted by way of the driving gear to the driven gear. Knowing this we can develop a mathematical equation to link the driving gear Force vector F_{1} to the driven gear Force vector F_{2}, then use that linking equation to develop a separate torque formula for each of the gears in the train. We learned in the previous blog in this series that F_{1} and F_{2} travel in opposite directions to each other along the same line of action. As such, both of these Force vectors are situated in the same way so that they are each at an angle value ϴ with respect to their Distance vectors D_{1} and D_{2. } This fact allows us to build an equation with like terms, and that in turn allows us to use trigonometry to link the two force vectors into a single equation: F = [F_{1 }× sin(ϴ)] – [F_{2 }× sin(ϴ)] where F is called a resultant Force vector, so named because it represents the force that results when the dead, or inert, weight that’s present in the resisting force F_{2 }cancels out some of the positive force of F_{1}. Next week we’ll simplify our gear train illustration and delve into more math in order to develop separate torque computations for each gear in the train. _______________________________________ 
Distance and Force Vectors of a Simple Gear Train
Monday, May 5th, 2014
Last time we examined how torque and force are created upon the driving gear within a simple gear train. Today we’ll see how they affect the driven gear. Looking at the gear train illustration above, we see that each gear has both distance and force vectors. We’ll call the driving gear Distance vector, D_{1}, and the driven gear Distance vector, D_{2}. Each of these Distance vectors extend from pivot points located at the centers of their respective gear shafts. From there they extend in opposite directions until they meet at the line of action, the imaginary line which represents the geometric path along which Force vectors F_{1} and F_{2} are aligned. As we learned last time, the Force vector, F_{1}, results from the torque that’s created at the pivot point located at the center of the driving gear. This driving gear is mounted on a shaft that’s attached to an electric motor, the ultimate powering source behind the torque. F_{1} follows a path along the line of action until it meets with the driven gear teeth, where it then exerts its pushing force upon them. It’s met by Force vector F_{2}, a resisting force, which extends along the same line of action, but in a direction opposite to that of F_{1}. These two Force vectors butt heads, pushing back against one another. F_{2} is essentially a negative force manifested by the dead weight of the mechanical load of the machinery components resting upon the shaft of the driving gear. Its unmoving inertia resists being put into motion. In order for the gears in the gear train to turn, F_{1} must be greater than F_{2}, in other words, it must be great enough to overcome the resistance presented by F_{2}. With the two Force vectors pushing against each other along the line of action, the angle ϴ between vectors F_{2} and D_{2}, is the same as the angle ϴ between F_{1} and D_{1}. Next time we’ll use the angular relationship between these four vectors to develop torque calculations for both gears in the gear train. _______________________________________ 
Torque and Force
Tuesday, April 29th, 2014
We’ve been discussing torque and how it enables more power to be available to applications such as loosening tight nuts with a wrench. Now we’ll see how those same principles apply to another application, a simple gear train. To review, the torque formula is, Torque = Distance × Force × sin(ϴ) where, Distance and Force are vector magnitudes and ϴ is the angle formed between them. Referring to the gear train illustration above, we see that Force and Distance vectors are present, just as they had been in our previous wrench/nut example. But instead of torque being created by way of force that’s applied to a wrench, things are reversed, and it’s the torque that creates the force. You see, in the wrench/nut example, the force applied to the wrench handle created torque on the nut. In our present gear train example, the torque applied to the motor shaft is created by an electric motor exerting pressure upon the motor shaft, which in turn exerts a force upon the driving gear teeth. The driving gear is also attached to this shaft, so torque causes the driving gear to rotate along with the motor. This rotation results in a force being exerted at the point where the teeth of the driving gear mesh with the teeth of the driven gear. In other words, in the wrench/nut example force created torque, while in the present example torque creates a force. The gear train has a pivot point, as there was in our wrench/nut example, but this time it’s located at the center of the motor shaft rather than at the center of a nut. The pivot point in both examples is where the action takes place. The motor’s shaft and driving gear rotate around it, just as the wrench jaws and handle rotated around the nut’s pivot point. In both examples, the Distance vectors extend out from the pivot points to meet up with the Force vector’s path. In the gear train example, this Force vector path is called a line of action, as introduced earlier in this blog series. This line of action passes through to the point where the driving and driven gear teeth mesh. The force acting upon that point causes the gears in the gear train to rotate, and as they turn mechanical energy is transferred from the motor to whatever machinery component is attached to the shaft of the driven gear. The powered component will then be able to perform useful work such as cutting lumber, mixing frosting for a cake, drilling holes in steel, or propelling vehicles. You will note that there is an angle ϴ which exists between the Distance and Force vectors. Since we have a pivot point, a Force vector, a Distance vector, and an angle ϴ, we are able to apply the torque formula to gear trains exactly as we did in our wrench/nut example. We can then use that formula to calculate how torque is transmitted between gears in the train. Next time we’ll examine the distance and force vectors in a simple gear train. _______________________________________ 
Manipulating theTorque Formula
Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014
Last time we introduced the simplified formula for torque: Torque = Distance × Force Today we’ll manipulate it by way of our wrench and nut example to get the torque that we need to loosen a tight nut. By inserting the numerical values of our illustration into the torque formula, it becomes: Torque = 6 inches × 10 pounds = 60 inchpounds Inchpounds may be terminology you’re unfamiliar with, but this notation arises from the fact that torque values are always represented by units of distance and force separated by a hyphen, in our case inchpounds. This just means that distance and force were multiplied together to calculate torque. In order to manipulate the value for torque all that needs to be done is change either or both numerical values for Distance and Force. Increasing either or both factors produces higher torque, decreasing them less torque. Why manipulate torque? To provide us with a mechanical advantage. Suppose we have a rusted nut that we’re trying to move with a wrench that has a 6 inch handle, and the 10 pounds of force employed by the muscles in our arm just won’t budge it. Put another way, 60 inchpounds of torque is insufficient to rotate the nut. It’s clear we must increase torque to get things going. Let’s do so by increasing either of the vector magnitudes. First we’ll try increasing the magnitude of the force vector. Instead of simply pushing hard on the wrench handle with our arm, let’s say we push extra hard. The average man can do a bicep curl of between 30 to 40 pounds, but we haven’t been going to the gym lately and we’re really out of shape. So try as we will, we just can’t muster up the bicep strength to apply more than 10 pounds of force to the wrench handle. It’s clear that this approach to increasing torque upon the nut isn’t going to work. The other way to increase torque is to increase the length of the distance vector. We’ll need a wrench with a longer handle, say 9 inches. By using a wrench with a longer handle we have increased the magnitude of the distance vector from 6 to 9 inches. The torque formula becomes: Torque = 9 inches × 10 pounds = 90 inchpounds Eureka! The longer handle has provided us with the mechanical advantage needed to increase torque to 90 inchpounds, thereby overcoming our muscular shortcomings and breaking the nut free. In summary, since torque is the product of the magnitudes of the distance and force vectors, we can increase torque by either increasing the magnitude of the force vector, or as in our example, by increasing the magnitude of the distance vector. Next time we’ll see how to apply the principles of torque to a real world situation involving gear trains in which we need to obtain a mechanical advantage. _______________________________________ 
Torque Formula Symplified
Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014
Last time we introduced the mathematical formula for torque, which is most simply defined as a measure of how much a force acting upon an object causes that object to rotate around a pivot point. When manipulated, torque can produce a mechanical advantage in gear trains and tools, which we’ll see later. The formula is: Torque = Distance × Force × sin(ϴ) We learned that the factors Distance and Force are vectors, and sin(ϴ) is a trigonometric function of the angle ϴ which is formed between their two vectors. Let’s return to our wrench example and see how the torque formula works. Vectors have both a magnitude, that is, a size or extent, and a direction, and they are typically represented in physics and engineering problems by straight arrows. In our illustration the vector for distance is represented by an orange arrow, while the vector for force is represented by a red arrow. The orange distance vector has a magnitude of 6 inches, while the red force vector has a magnitude of 10 pounds, which is being supplied by the user’s arm muscle manipulating the nut. That muscle force follows a path from the arm to the pivot point located at the center of the nut, a distance of 6 inches. Vector arrows point in a specific direction, a direction which is indicative of the way in which the vectors’ magnitudes — in our case inches of distance vs. pounds of force — are oriented with respect to one another. In our illustration the orange distance vector points away from the pivot point. This is according to engineering and physics convention, which dictates that, when a force vector is acting upon an object to produce a torque, the distance vector always points from the object’s pivot point to the line of force associated with the force vector. The angle, ϴ, that is formed between the two vectors in our example is 90 degrees, as measured by any common, ordinary protractor. Next we must determine the trigonometric value for sin(ϴ). This is easily accomplished by simply entering “90” into our calculator, then pressing the sin button. An interesting fact is that when the angle ϴ ranges anywhere between 0 and 90 degrees, the values for sin(ϴ) always range between 0 and 1. To see this in action enter any number between 0 and 90 into a scientific calculator, then press the sin button. For our angle of 90 degrees we find that, sin(90) = 1 Thus the formula for torque in our example, because the sin(ϴ) is equal to 1, simply becomes the product of the magnitudes of the Distance and Force vectors: Torque = Distance × Force × sin(90) Torque = Distance × Force × 1 Torque = Distance × Force Next time we’ll insert numerical values into the equation and see how easily torque can be manipulated. _______________________________________ 
Vectors, Sin(ϴ), and the Torque Formula
Wednesday, March 26th, 2014
Last time we introduced a physics concept known as torque and how it, together with modified gear ratios, can produce a mechanical advantage in devices whose motors utilize gear trains. Now we’ll familiarize ourselves with torque’s mathematical formula, which involves some terminology, symbols, and concepts which you may not be familiar with, among them, vectors, and sin(ϴ). Torque = Distance × Force × sin(ϴ) In this formula, Distance and Force are both vectors. Generally speaking, a vector is a quantity that has both a magnitude — that is, any measured quantity associated with a vector, whether that be measured in pounds or inches or any other unit of measurement — and a direction. Vectors are typically represented graphically in engineering and physics illustrations by pointing arrows. The arrows are indicative of the directionality of the magnitudes involved. Sin(ϴ), pronounced sine thaytah, is a function found within a field of mathematics known as trigonometry , which concerns itself with the lengths and angles of triangles. ϴ, or thaytah, is a Greek symbol used to represent the angle present between the Force and Distance vectors as they interact to create torque. The value of sin(ϴ) depends upon the number of degrees in the angle ϴ. Sin(ϴ) can be found by measuring the angle ϴ, entering its value into a scientific calculator, and pressing the Sin button. We’ll dive into the math behind the vectors next time, when we return to our wrench and nut example and apply vector force quantities.
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Achieving Mechanical Advantage Through Torque
Wednesday, March 19th, 2014
Last time we saw how gear train ratios allow us to change the speed of the driven gear relative to the driving gear. Today we’ll extend this concept further and see how gear trains are used to amplify the mechanical power output of small motors and in so doing create a mechanical advantage, an advantage made possible through the physics of torque. Below is an ordinary electric drill. Let’s see what’s inside its shell. There’s a whole lot of mechanical advantage at work here, giving the drill’s small motor the ability to perform big jobs. A motor and gear train are housed within the drill itself. The motor shaft is coupled to the chuck shaft via the gear train, and by extension, the drill bit. A chuck holds the drill bit in place. It’s the drill’s gear train that provides the small motor with the mechanical advantage necessary for this handheld power tool to perform the big job of cutting through a thick steel plate. If the gear train and its properly engineered gear ratio weren’t in place and the chuck’s shaft was connected directly to the motor shaft, the motor would be overwhelmed and would stall or become damaged. Either way, the work won’t get done. To understand how operations like these can be performed, we must first familiarize ourselves with the physics concept of torque. Torque allows us to analyze the rotational forces acting upon rotating objects, such as gears in a gear train and wrenches on nuts and bolts. Manipulating torque allows us to achieve a physical advantage when rotating objects around a pivot point. Let’s illustrate this by using a wrench to turn a nut. The nut is fastened to the bolt with threads, interconnecting spiral grooves formed on both the inside of the nut and the outside of the bolt. A wrench is used to loosen and tighten the nut by rotating it on its mating threads. The nut itself rotates about a pivot point which lies at its center. When you use your arm to manipulate the wrench you apply force, a force which is transmitted at a distance from the pivot point. This in turn creates a torque on the nut. In other words, torque is a function of the force acting upon the handle relative to its distance from the pivot point at the center of the nut. Torque can be increased by changing one or both of its acting factors, force and distance. We’ll see how next time when we examine the formula for torque and manipulate it so that a weak arm can loosen even the tightest nut. _______________________________________ 