Simulating Gear Lubrication: Accurately Predicting Oil Flow Pattern, Temperature and Churning Losses

Gears systems are key mechanical components used to transmit power. They are used in many industry applications, including automotive and wind energy sectors . The most common application is in the automotive industry: The gear box (or transmission) converts energy from the internal combustion engine shaft to the drive of the wheels. In wind turbine applications, the gear box converts blade rotation speed (and its associated energy) to the rotation speed needed to entrain the power generator. Because of friction between gears, the gear system must be well lubricated to:

  • Ensure that the gears maintain structural integrity (producing minimum friction for minimum mechanical losses, ensuring that gear teeth do not get damaged, etc.)
  • Avoid oil over-heating: for example, gear box oil fires can occur on wind turbine installations
  • Ensure minimal churning losses ( losses generated by oil’s being stirred by rotating gears)


Watch the step-by-step demo of using ANSYS Fluent to simulate the motion of oil inside a gear box system and how it contributes to gear cooling.

ANSYS solutions offer a complete range of fluid dynamics simulation solutions for gear system lubrication.

  • Complete geometry and meshing solution to capture even complex gear-tooth geometry
  • Ability to handle all type of lubrication oils – even if you have proprietary oil properties
  • Fast transient simulation capabilities that give fast results – the prediction of gear box lubrication performance

See how ANSYS customers use computational fluid dynamics simulation to develop a more-reliable drivetrain unit.

High-quality gear box cfd meshHigh-quality tetrahedral mesh of gear box fluid volume: Details of gear teeth geometry are accurately captured. A high-quality mesh guarantees an accurate, robust and fast CFD simulation of the oil behavior inside the gear box.
Motion of lubrication oil in a gear box. The animation starts when the gear system starts its motion. CFD simulation relies on volume of fluid simulation technology to model air and oil flow pattern and temperatures.