Oil-jet lubrication and cooling of high-speed gears is frequently employed in aeronautical systems, such as novel high-bypass civil aero engines based on the geared turbofan technology. Using such oil-jet system, practitioners aim to achieve high cooling rates on the flanks of the highly thermally loaded gears with minimum oil usage. Thus, for an optimal design, detailed knowledge about the flow processes is desired. These involve the oil exiting the nozzle, the oil impacting on the gear teeth, the oil spreading on the flanks, the subsequent oil fling-off, as well as the effect of the design parameters on the oil flow. Better understanding of these processes will improve the nozzle design phase, e.g. regarding the nozzle positioning and orientation, as well as the nozzle sizing and operation.
Most related studies focus on the impingement depth to characterize the two-phase flow. However, the level of information of this scalar value is rather low for a complete description of the highly dynamic three-dimensional flow. Motivated by the advancements in numerical methods and the computational resources available nowadays, the investigation of the oil-jet gear interaction by means of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) has come into focus lately.
In this work, a numerical setup based on the volume-of-fluid method is presented and employed to investigate the two-phase flow phenomena occurring in the vicinity of the gear teeth. The setup consists of a single oil-jet impinging on a single rotating spur gear. By introducing new metrics for characterizing the flow phenomena, extensive use of the possibilities of modern CFD is made, allowing a detailed transient and spatially resolved flow analysis. Thus, not only the impingement depth, but also the temporal and spatial evolution of wetted areas on the gear flanks, as well as the evolution of the oil volume in contact with the gear flanks are extracted from the simulation data and compared in a CFD study.
The study consists of 21 different simulation cases, whereby the effect of varying the jet velocity, the jet inclination angle, the jet diameter, and the gear speed are examined. Consistent results compared to a simplified analytical approach for the impinging depth are obtained and the results for the newly introduced metrics are presented.