With the mounting application of carburized or case-hardening gears and higher requirements of heavy-load, high-speed in mechanical systems such as wind turbines, helicopters, ships, etc., contact fatigue issues of gears are becoming more preponderant. Recently, significant improvements have been made on the gear manufacturing process to control subsurface-initiated failures, hence, gear surface-initiated damages, such as micropitting, should be given more attention. The diversity of the influence factors, including gear materials, surface topographies, lubrication properties, working conditions, etc., are necessary to be taken into account when analyzing gear micropitting behaviors. Although remarkable developments in micropitting studies have been achieved recently by many researchers and engineers on both theoretical and experimental fields, large amounts of investigations are yet to be further launched to thoroughly understand the micropitting mechanism. This work reviews recent relevant studies on the micropitting of steel gears, especially the competitive phenomenon that occurs among several contact fatigue failure modes when considering gear tooth surface wear evolution. Meanwhile, the corresponding recent research results about gear micropitting issues obtained by the authors are also displayed for more detailed explanations.
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