Research Topic

Polymer Gears

About this Research Topic

The use of polymer gears has significantly increased in the past 50 years due to the advantages they exhibit over metal gears. The main ones being: cheaper mass production, lower weight, corrosion resistance, and the possibility of running without lubrication. Noise and vibration levels, as well as harshness behavior, are also better due to polymer's excellent damping properties. However, polymer gears have some disadvantages compared to metal gears, e.g. inferior mechanical properties, worse thermal conductivity and thermal resistance, and worse manufacturing tolerances.

There is a wide range of polymer materials with different properties enabling several combinations of material pairs that can be used in polymer gear applications. For more demanding operating conditions there are high-performance polymer materials like PEEK or PAEK that can be used. To increase material performance the base polymer material can be reinforced with additives like fibers and filaments to increase wear resistance and reduce friction.

The material’s complex, temperature-dependent, viscoelastic behavior challenges designers of polymer gears because material strength data and material models are available only for a limited number of polymer materials. Further research is therefore required on material models, damage mechanisms, and the modification and development of accurate calculation methods.

The scope of this Research Topic includes but is not limited to:

• New materials: biopolymers, composites
• Design methods: load carrying capacity (new or improved models for fatigue, wear and temperature prediction), design of non-involute gears, tooth shape optimization (tip relief, root fillet optimization)
• Manufacturing: 3D printing, advanced injection molding techniques (process parameters), injection-compression molding
• Quality control: geometrical quality control (tactile and optical methods), void control (tomography), crystallinity
• Tribology: lubrication, coatings, failures, friction
• Gear Noise Vibration and Harshness
• Case Studies


Keywords: Polymer Gears, Damage Modeling, Manufacturing, Quality Inspection, Polymer Tribology


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

The use of polymer gears has significantly increased in the past 50 years due to the advantages they exhibit over metal gears. The main ones being: cheaper mass production, lower weight, corrosion resistance, and the possibility of running without lubrication. Noise and vibration levels, as well as harshness behavior, are also better due to polymer's excellent damping properties. However, polymer gears have some disadvantages compared to metal gears, e.g. inferior mechanical properties, worse thermal conductivity and thermal resistance, and worse manufacturing tolerances.

There is a wide range of polymer materials with different properties enabling several combinations of material pairs that can be used in polymer gear applications. For more demanding operating conditions there are high-performance polymer materials like PEEK or PAEK that can be used. To increase material performance the base polymer material can be reinforced with additives like fibers and filaments to increase wear resistance and reduce friction.

The material’s complex, temperature-dependent, viscoelastic behavior challenges designers of polymer gears because material strength data and material models are available only for a limited number of polymer materials. Further research is therefore required on material models, damage mechanisms, and the modification and development of accurate calculation methods.

The scope of this Research Topic includes but is not limited to:

• New materials: biopolymers, composites
• Design methods: load carrying capacity (new or improved models for fatigue, wear and temperature prediction), design of non-involute gears, tooth shape optimization (tip relief, root fillet optimization)
• Manufacturing: 3D printing, advanced injection molding techniques (process parameters), injection-compression molding
• Quality control: geometrical quality control (tactile and optical methods), void control (tomography), crystallinity
• Tribology: lubrication, coatings, failures, friction
• Gear Noise Vibration and Harshness
• Case Studies


Keywords: Polymer Gears, Damage Modeling, Manufacturing, Quality Inspection, Polymer Tribology


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

13 January 2021 Abstract
14 May 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

13 January 2021 Abstract
14 May 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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