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The gear whine noise and vibro-acoustic

emission of gear-box

Conference Paper March 2011


1 108

2 authors:

Vincenzo Niola Giuseppe Quaremba

University of Naples Federico II University of Naples Federico II


All in-text references underlined in blue are linked to publications on ResearchGate, Available from: Giuseppe Quaremba
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Recent Researches in Multimedia Systems, Signal Processing, Robotics, Control and Manufacturing Technology

The Gear Whine Noise and vibro-acoustic emission of gear-box

Niola V., Quaremba G.

Department of Mechanical and Energetics

University of Naples Federico II
Via Claudio 21, 80125, Napoli, ITALY

Abstract This article reports the results of several tests, carried out in optical gear whine noise to
evaluate the difference between the vibro-acoustic emission of two gearboxes of the same type, one,
in particular, showing a micro-geometrical error located on the side of tooth and characterized by
lack of material at the base of the tooth due to a slight drift of the production process. The tests were
carried out in fourth gear.
The user of the vehicle, in fact, seems to be particularly attentive to the vibro-acoustic emissions.
For that reason the major car manufacturers devote significant resources to the Noise, Vibration and
Harshness sector, which deals with noise and vibration of the vehicle to the vehicle driving comfort.

Key-Words: - vibro-acoustic emission, gearbox, gear whine noise, signal processing, automotive,
driving comfort.

1 Introduction Usually, the acoustic noise occurs at meshing

Continuing advances in the automotive frequency ranging between 50 and 90 dB (A).
industry in recent years, leading manufacturers
of automobiles to develop more and more Because the acoustic pressure, due to GWN, is
advanced products from technical and quality not necessarily proportional to the engine speed
point of view. In addition, consumer needs, the unexpected noise and therefore the
now aligned with the high standards achieved, undesirable acoustic phenomena due to the
prevent manufacturers to make vehicles of poor power system could be high in any engine
quality. running condition [4].
This is the reason the major car manufacturers For that reason GWN represents an important
devote significant resources to the Noise, problem to solve or to reduce or to "manage" at
Vibration and Harshness (NVH) which deals least in an appropriate way [5].
with noise and car vibration also the driving Many factors influence the vibro-acoustic
comfort. emissions; mainly they are:
This present work was aimed to analyze two
gearboxes, made by the same manufacturer, for Transmission error
the objective assessment of its vibro-acoustic Variation of meshing stiffness
emissions due to the phenomenon of gear Dynamical forces of meshing
whine. Friction forces
Detention of air and lubricant between
the teeth.
2 The problem of gear whine noise
The Gear Whine Noise (GWN), as well as the
gear rattle noise, is one of the main vibro- 3 Gearbox: technical specifications
acoustic phenomena of gearbox [1,2,3]. The gearbox used for assessing the vibro-
The GWN is an acoustic problem, which can acoustic test is designed for medium-powered
be quite fastidious in the car, because of the car and allows the transmission of a maximum
presence of values of frequency and sound torque of 350 Nm.
pressure relatively high. The model has three axles and 6 speed.

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Recent Researches in Multimedia Systems, Signal Processing, Robotics, Control and Manufacturing Technology

The two gearboxes (same type) tested were 1 thermocouple, used to monitor the
made following the same manufacturing temperature inside the gearbox; it was
process. positioned directly in contact with
One of these belongs to a lot which showed lubricating oil;
abnormal micro geometrical parameters due to
the drift of the production process: significative 1 single-axis accelerometer used for
lack of material localized at the basis of tooth. vibration measurement; it was
For that reason the lack of material is not positioned at the bottom of the gearbox;
interested during the contact of the teeth: it
does not involve any meshing problem [6,7,8]. 3 microphones were used for the
This area, in fact, detected by means of a acoustic detection. They were arranged
micrometer at the base of the tooth is localized in a semicircle near the gearbox far
below the meshing profile. away one meter from it.

4 The test room 5 The set-up of assessment

The study of the gearbox was performed in One of the main points is to ensure the
optical NVH. This means that no occurrence of repeatability of test. For that reason it is
noise and vibration transmission due to the fundamental to maintain a constant temperature
engine was introduced. In fact, running of the lubricant.
conditions of the gearbox were reproduced by Both gearboxes were tested as the following
means of an innovative test-bed, which allows protocol:
to perform the test without the use of the
engine. Slow acceleration in fourth gear from
This potentiality allows, therefore, a detailed 1000 to 4000 rpm in one minute with a
study of the phenomenon, in particular, the constant torque applied to the primary
analysis of the frequency range responsible of ranging from 30 to 300 Nm, increasing
unpleasant perceptions to the occupants of the of 30 Nm for each ramp;
car. Steady speed in fourth gear at 1000,
This means that we can simulate on the 2000, 3000, 4000 rpm with torque
primary of gearbox, besides the average speed applied to the primary, ranging from 30
of the engine, even the periodic components to 300 Nm.
due to the forces of combustion and inertia.
The main shaft of the gearbox is put into
rotation by an electric motor connected in 6 Results
series through a flexible coupling to a torsional
hydraulic pulsator; two semi-axes are braked 6.1 The colour map diagram
by means of two additional electric brakes. A detailed data-base was prepared including
The test bed is installed in a semi-anechoic weather the acoustic signals acquired by means
room, in which electric motors are acoustically of the microphone and the vibrational signals
shielded and the floor is covered with acquired by means of accelerometer as well as
soundproofing material in such a way that the the tachometer signals.
tested gearboxes shows the only noise source. The aforesaid data-base was processed to
For the acquisition of noise signals the extract the order of main interest for
following sensors were used: evaluating the Gear Whine phenomenon and in
particular for extracting, form each gear, the
1 ferromagnetic pickup, used for the meshing order. It is visualized through detailed
acquisition of the instantaneous rotation Colour-Map diagrams.
speed of the flywheel. It was screwed Such a diagram shows on the abscissa the
into a threaded hole drilled in the bell of speed of engine expressed as revolutions per
the gearbox at the flywheel; minutes (rpm) and on the ordinates the torque

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Recent Researches in Multimedia Systems, Signal Processing, Robotics, Control and Manufacturing Technology

applied to the main shaft (Nm). On the third While the results performed on the gearbox
axis, the colour scale represents the values of with geometrical error is illustrated in the
sound pressure detected (dB (A)). Fig.2.
By observing the colour map we can By comparing the two diagrams it is possible to
understand which are the areas where the noise evaluate the noise level of the two gearboxes as
shows the highest value; in particular the areas function of the speed and torque applied to the
in red show the highest values while the lowest primary.
noise levels are pointed out in blue. In particular, for low values of speed, both
gearboxes show quite the same results; the
acoustic emission shows an increasing trend
directly proportional to the speed reached by
the gearboxes. We note that the maximum
value of 70 dB (A) was close to 2000 rpm.
When we operate at low range of revolutions
(10002000 rpm) most relevant critical issues
for both gearboxes highlight.
In particular the gearbox with geometrical error
is more noisy. In fact it has two critical areas of
interest, 24002600 rpm and 29003200 rpm.
The gearbox without geometrical errors reaches
critical level of noise only in one narrower
range 26002750 rpm.
Both gearboxes show the sound pressure level
close to 80 dB (A).
Fig. 1 - Gearbox without geometrical errors -
Finally, from 3000 to 4000 rpm the gearbox
4th gear, Acoustic pressure dB (A) vs Order of
with geometrical errors shows higher values if
compared to the gearbox without error, very
close to 70 dB (A).

6.2 Analysis of the applied torque

The torque values which ensure optimal
transmission with reference to the vibro-
acoustic emissions are highlighted in green.
Below are the charts showing the performance
of vibro-acoustic emission as a function of
torque applied to the primary.
Referring to the applied torque, the analysis of
such data indicates that minimal emission, of
noise and vibration, due to the gear without
errors is obtained for a value of about 120 Nm.
As already mentioned because of the direct
correlation between tooth bending,
transmission error and vibro-acoustic emission,
Fig. 2 - Gearbox with geometrical errors - 4th it is possible to optimize the noise level in a
gear, Acoustic pressure dB (A) vs Order of very narrow range of applied torques.
meshing Vice versa, the gear showing the geometrical
error has low emission in the range starting
The results of test performed on the gearbox from 30 up to 60 Nm.
without geometrical error is shown in the Fig.1. In particular, there is a shift of the optimal
running to lower values of torque. It is clear
also that the trends of the emission values are

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Recent Researches in Multimedia Systems, Signal Processing, Robotics, Control and Manufacturing Technology

quite similar; this means that the diagrams of Analyzing the results of test we can say that the
emission do not vary in terms of shape but, diagrams referred to the gearbox with
mainly, for the position of the applied torque geometrical errors appear shifted, due to the
and, in part, for the number of rpm. The figures different flexural response of teeth to external
below explain what we said (Figg. 3-6). forces.
The noise due to the phenomenon of gear
whine, in fact, is directly related to the
variation of error of transmission, mainly
because of the meshing stiffness.
Because of the decrease of cross section, due to
lack of material at the base, the teeth are less
rigid and therefore more flexible at the same
external stress.
This feature allows therefore to achieve in the
gearbox with geometrical error the point of
Fig. 3 Acoustic response at 2000rpm optimal functioning with torque values smaller
than those needed to gearbox without error.
The results show that the gearbox with
geometrical error focuses in the normal area of
functioning (i.e., the fourth gear) the highest
levels of noise. On the contrary the gearbox
without error in the same area (especially for
torque values from 90 to 150 Nm and for all
the range of rotation) is particularly noiseless,
limiting the maximum noise in smaller areas
and higher torque values (Figg. 7-8).
Fig. 4 - Acoustic response at 3000rpm The motor installed on the test car is a 1600 cc
four-cylinder engine powered by diesel, which
delivers a maximum torque of 290 Nm at 1500
rpm and a maximum power of 78 kW at 4000
rpm. By overlaying the characteristic curve of
that engine to color map it is possible to
identify the best operating conditions of the
power train.
Using the values of the characteristic curve of
the engine and vehicle data, the possible noise
levels found on the car were defined on the
Fig. 5 Vibrational response at 2000rpm color map. In advance, the data allow us to
confirm that the gearbox with geometrical error
may have critical importance for the
application on the car.

Fig. 6 - Vibrational response at 3000rpm

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With reference to the number of revolutions of

the primary shaft, the gearboxes tested show a
very different acoustic behaviour. It highlights
in particular that the gearbox with geometrical
errors is characterized by higher noise in
almost all engine speed [9].
The colour maps of data acquired during the
test-bed provide a complete map of all possible
operating conditions of the gearbox tested.
In the car, however, the operating points are
limited by the type of engine coupled to the
gearbox and by the dynamic parameters of the
vehicle. That kind of study is in progress.
In fact, the car used for testing the gearbox, is
Fig. 7 - Gearbox without geometrical errors - another variable to take into account to define
4th gear, Acoustic pressure dB (A) vs Order of the actual running areas of engine. Using as
meshing reference the equation of the road vehicle, we
can define, for the gear speed tested, the range
of normal engine running.

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[8] G. W. Blankenship and R. Singh, A

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WSEAS Int. Conf. on Signal Processing,
Robotics and Automation (ISPRA 11),
Cambridge Feb 20-22, 2011, paper accepted
for presentation.

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