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A joint Army-NASA Lewis helicopter transmission research program is aimed at reducing transmission weight and noise while increasing life and reliability. Advancements are derived from improved components and their integration in new designs of these critical systems. Several experimental in-house component investigations, including fundamental efforts in gearing, bearing, and lubrication technology, are ongoing. In parallel, transmission system design studies have identified two promising configurations - a split-torque arrangement and a self-aligning bearingless planetary system. Also, unique research facilities are used for testing full-scale transmissions, the goals being to demonstrate advanced concepts, evaluate new components, and verify analytical tools.
An extensive database of information has been established - one at 500 horsepower (OH-58 size) and the other at 3000 horsepower (UH-60 and AH-64 size). Mechanical efficiency, vibration, strain, deflection, and temperature data are collected and used to identify technology voids and refine component designs. The research provides a basis for growth in the power-to-weight ratio of existing configurations. In cooperation with the airframe industry, the results have been transferred to the system developers and are now being factored into designs that will meet the requirements of advanced rotorcraft transmissions for Army missions.
POC: Dr. David G. Lewicki
500HP Transmission Test Stand
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Updated: March 12, 2004