Gear Definitions and Terminology

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ADDENDUM (a) is the height by which a tooth projects beyond the pitch circle or pitch line.

BASE DIAMETER (Db) is the diameter of the base cylinder from which the involute portion of a tooth profile is generated.

BACKLASH (B) is the amount by which the width of a tooth space exceeds the thickness of the engaging tooth on the pitch circles. As actually indicated by measuring devices, backlash may be determined variously in the transverse, normal, or axial-planes, and either in the direction of the pitch circles or on the line of action. Such measurements should be corrected to corresponding values on transverse pitch circles for general comparisons.

BORE LENGTH is the total length through a gear, sprocket, or coupling bore.

CIRCULAR PITCH (p) is the distance along the pitch circle or pitch line between corresponding profiles of adjacent teeth.

CIRCULAR THICKNESS (t) is the length of arc between the two sides of a gear tooth on the pitch circle, unless otherwise specified.

CLEARANCE-OPERATING (c) is the amount by which the dedendum in a given gear exceeds the addendum of its mating gear.

CONTACT RATIO (mc) in general, the number of angular pitches through which a tooth surface rotates from the beginning to the end of contact.

DEDENDUM (b) is the depth of a tooth space below the pitch line. It is normally greater than the addendum of the mating gear to provide clearance.

DIAMETRAL PITCH (P) is the ratio of the number of teeth to the pitch diameter.

FACE WIDTH (F) is the length of the teeth in an axial plane.

FILLET RADIUS (rf) is the radius of the fillet curve at the base of the gear tooth.

FULL DEPTH TEETH are those in which the working depth equals 2.000 divided by the normal diametral pitch.

GEAR is a machine part with gear teeth. When two gears run together, the one with the larger number of teeth is called the gear.

HUB DIAMETER is outside diameter of a gear, sprocket or coupling hub.

HUB PROJECTION is the distance the hub extends beyond the gear face.

INVOLUTE TEETH of spur gears, helical gears and worms are those in which the active portion of the profile in the transverse plane is the involute of a circle.

LONG- AND SHORT-ADDENDUM TEETH are those of engaging gears (on a standard designed center distance) one of which has a long addendum and the other has a short addendum.

KEYWAY is the machined groove running the length of the bore. A similar groove is machined in the shaft and a key fits into this opening.

NORMAL DIAMETRAL PITCH (Pn) is the value of the diametral pitch as calculated in the normal plane of a helical gear or worm.

NORMAL PLANE is the plane normal to the tooth surface at a pitch point and perpendicular to the pitch plane. For a helical gear this plane can be normal to one tooth at a point laying in the plane surface. At such point, the normal plane contains the line normal to the tooth surface and this is normal to the pitch circle.

NORMAL PRESSURE ANGLE (n) in a normal plane of helical tooth.

OUTSIDE DIAMETER (Do) is the diameter of the addendum (outside) circle.

PITCH CIRCLE is the circle derived from a number of teeth and a specified diametral or circular pitch. Circle on which spacing or tooth profiles is established and from which the tooth proportions are constructed.

PITCH CYLINDER is the cylinder of diameter equal to the pitch circle.

PINION is a machine part with gear teeth. When two gears run together, the one with the smaller number of teeth is called the pinion.

PITCH DIAMETER (D) is the diameter of the pitch circle. In parallel shaft gears, the pitch diameters can be determined directly from the center distance and the number of teeth.

PRESSURE ANGLE () is the angle at a pitch point between the line of pressure which is normal to the tooth surface, and the plane tangent to the pitch surface. In involute teeth, pressure angle is often described also as the angle between the line of action and the line tangent to the pitch circle. Standard pressure angles are established in connection with standard gear-tooth proportions.

ROOT DIAMETER (Dr) is the diameter at the base of the tooth space.

PRESSURE ANGLEOPERATING (r) is determined by the center distance at which the gears operate. It is the pressure angle at the operating pitch diameter.

TIP RELIEF is an arbitrary modification of a tooth profile whereby a small amount of material is removed near the tip of the gear tooth.

UNDERCUT is a condition in generated gear teeth when any part of the fillet curve lies inside a line drawn tangent to the working profile at its point of juncture with the fillet.

WHOLE DEPTH (ht) is the total depth of a tooth space, equal to addendum plus dedendum, equal to the working depth plus variance.

WORKING DEPTH (hk) is the depth of engagement of two gears; that is, the sum of their addendums.