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Empowering Engineering Futures: How AGMA Scholarships Fuel Success in the Gear Industry

Making an Impact on Students by Advancing Education

The American Gear Manufacturers Association (AGMA) Foundation awards scholarships to outstanding engineering students at the Associate/Technical, Undergraduate, and Graduate levels. This scholarship program addresses the industry’s pressing need for skilled employees, thereby ensuring a well-prepared workforce for the gear and power transmission sector.

Geared for Success

The success of the AGMA scholarship program is evident in its impressive outcomes. A follow-up with scholarship recipients revealed that 86% of graduates are currently employed in the gear/power transmission industry, showcasing the program’s effectiveness in fostering industry-ready professionals.

Avail the Financial Support for Your Career

The AGMA Foundation’s scholarships provide crucial financial support to students pursuing engineering careers in the gear industry. The awards are structured across three educational levels:

 

  • Associate/Technical Level

Students at the Associate/Technical level can receive up to $2,500 annually to support their education.

 

  • Undergraduate Level
    Undergraduate students are eligible for annual scholarship awards of up to $5,000.

 

  • Graduate Level
    Graduate students can also receive annual scholarship awards of up to $5,000.

How to apply?

The AGMA Foundation Board of Trustees establishes guidelines for the distribution of funds and criteria for selecting recipients, which are implemented by the Scholarship Committee. The Committee, comprising experienced members of the gear industry with a background in workforce education, reviews applications and makes recommendations to the Board of Trustees for final approval.

The next round of scholarships is now available. Applications for the 2024 Scholarship Awards are due by July 1, 2024.

For any questions, contact at Scholarship@AGMA.org

Interview with Suhas Gupta Thunuguntla, Graduate Research Assistant, Oakland University Upon Receiving the Scholarship

  • Team Gear Technology India congratulates you on receiving the AGMA scholarship! Can you share with us how you found out about this opportunity and the application process?

 

Thank you very much! I would like to express my sincere gratitude to AGMA and its board members for awarding me the 2023 scholarship. I learned about this opportunity through my professor/advisor Christopher Cooley, who recommended it to me.

The AGMA scholarship application is available on their website, where you can also find detailed eligibility criteria. This scholarship is open to any student interested in a career in the gear industry and/or power transmission related to the gear industry, including international students studying in the U.S.

The application process requires basic information about the applicant and details about the education being pursued. Additionally, applicants must submit several supplemental materials, including a signed personal statement outlining their interest in gears and their goals during the scholarship period, a study plan during the scholarship period, details of previous work experiences, official transcripts, and two letters of recommendation.

I would like to thank Mary Ellen Doran, the AGMA Foundation Executive Director, who provided invaluable assistance with any questions I had throughout the application process and continues to do so.

Furthermore, AGMA requires a mid-year report by January 31 and a final report by October 1. These reports should detail the progress made towards the goals stated in the personal statement and include a financial accounting of the scholarship funds.

 

  • Your research focuses on the in-depth analysis of damage-induced dynamics of geared transmissions with localized defects. Can you explain the significance of your work in the field of mechanical engineering and its potential impact on the industry?

 

Definitely! The health and usage monitoring of geared transmissions, particularly in rotorcraft, is crucial for ensuring safety, reliability, and efficiency. Gearbox failure during flight operations poses significant risks to both occupants and the vehicle. To mitigate these risks, Health and Usage Monitoring Systems (HUMS) are employed to record and analyze the vibrations of geared transmissions.

My research focuses on the in-depth analysis of damage-induced dynamics in geared transmissions, particularly those with localized defects. By analyzing the vibrations caused by damage to components such as planets, rings, and sun gears, my work aims to detect early indicators of failure. Initially, I evaluated the damage-induced dynamic response at the gear pair level to understand how damage affects vibrations and condition indicator values. Subsequently, I applied this knowledge to the vibrations of entire geared transmissions, identifying critical condition indicators.

The significance of my research lies in its potential to enhance the development of HUMS sensors, enabling them to detect damage at an early stage, thereby preventing catastrophic failures. This contributes to the overall safety and reliability of rotorcraft and other vehicles that rely on complex geared transmissions. By advancing the understanding of damage-induced dynamics, my work supports the design of more effective methodologies in monitoring systems, ultimately leading to improved maintenance practices and reduced operational risks in the mechanical engineering industry.

 

  • You’ve utilized advanced software like Calyx Transmission3D for your research. Can you discuss how this tool has been instrumental in your analysis and the specific benefits it has provided to your findings?

 

Certainly! Calyx Transmission3D, developed by Dr. Sandeep Vijayakar at Advanced Numerical Solutions, LLC, has been instrumental in my research. This software employs a combined finite element and contact mechanics (FE/CM) approach, which is highly effective for analyzing the accurate contact between gear teeth.

The method capitalizes on the small size of the contact zone, where two mating gear teeth mesh, compared to the overall dimensions of the gear teeth. It assumes that beyond a certain distance from the contact zone, the deformations of the gear teeth can be accurately predicted using the finite element method. Near the contact zone, relative deflections are precisely captured using an analytical formula derived from elastic half-space approximations. By combining these two solutions, the software provides accurate full-field approximations of the total displacements on the tooth surface, including areas near the contact zone.

The FE/CM formulation utilizes high-precision finite elements along the involute tooth surfaces, which are captured using specialized finite elements with high nodal resolution along the tooth profile and continuous shape functions. This ensures that local curvatures are accurately represented without requiring highly refined finite element meshes within the tooth surface. Conventional finite element approaches often necessitate excessively refined meshes for convergence, which compromises computational efficiency. The FE/CM approach circumvents this issue.

Furthermore, the FE/CM approach allows for the calculation of elastic contact pressure distribution and elastic deformations, accounting for changing contact conditions due to gear positioning within the mesh cycle, as well as elastic deformations throughout the gear and potential damage. Calyx Transmission3D is capable of performing both static and dynamic simulations of gear pairs and geared transmissions, with or without localized defects.

The specific benefits this tool has provided to my findings include enhanced accuracy in predicting gear tooth deformations and contact pressures and the ability to simulate the models both statically and dynamically without depending on analytical models like lumped-parameter models. This has significantly enhanced the depth and reliability of my research.

  • One of your achievements is the development of closed-form expressions for condition indicators. Could you elaborate on how these expressions enhance predictive capabilities for fault detection in gear pairs?

Yes. I have derived closed-form expressions for condition indicators such as RMS, FM4, and M8A of the damage-induced dynamic response of gear pairs. The dynamic response of a damaged gear pair within a certain speed range resembles that of a damped linear oscillator. Leveraging this phenomenon, the damage-induced dynamic response of the gear pair is approximated using the response model of a damped linear oscillator. The amplitude of this model signal depends on the severity of the damage, while the natural frequency and damping ratio are dynamic properties of the gear pair.

By substituting the expression of this phenomenon-based model into the condition indicator formulas, I derived expressions that depend on the properties of the gear pair. I explored amplitude domain formulas, which require a probability density function. This function was derived based on the assumption that the phenomenon-based model response is constructed from different numbers of half-sine waves, utilizing the known probability density function of a sine wave. Consequently, the probability density function for 𝑛 half-sine waves was derived and used in the amplitude domain formulas for the condition indicators, enabling the determination of closed-form expressions.

For a crack on the pinion of the gear pair, and crack lengths less than half of the tooth thickness, there is a very good agreement between the condition indicators of the damage-induced dynamic response calculated numerically and those of the phenomenon-based model calculated using closed-form expressions. However, for crack lengths greater than half the tooth thickness, the condition indicators of the phenomenon-based model serve as a lower bound estimate for the actual condition indicators of the damage-induced dynamic response of the gear pair.

These closed-form expressions for condition indicators enhance predictive capabilities by allowing the prediction of condition indicator values for different damping ratios and natural frequencies, assuming the gear pairs exhibit similar responses to the damage-induced dynamic response of existing gear pairs. Extending this derivation to condition indicators of geared transmissions is the next step in this research. Unlike gear pairs, geared transmissions have multiple natural frequencies, but it should be possible to approximate the damage-induced dynamic response of geared transmissions and derive closed-form expressions for their condition indicators.

  • Could you elaborate on the current challenges you are facing in your research on geared transmissions?

My research journey has been filled with challenges, each providing valuable learning opportunities. These include calculating mesh stiffness for gear pairs with or without damage, deriving dynamic responses of gear pairs, approximating damage-induced dynamic responses using phenomenon-based models, and deriving condition indicators for geared transmissions. One of the ongoing challenges I am working to overcome is identifying the optimal construction of the vibration signal. The goal is to maximize the damage content and minimize the healthy portion of the signal. This approach aims to ensure that the condition indicator values exceed threshold levels, thereby reliably detecting damage in the system with a high degree of accuracy.

  • Looking ahead, how do you plan to leverage the knowledge and experience gained from your PhD research and the AGMA scholarship in your future career? What are your long-term professional goals?

I plan to make significant contributions to the field of mechanical engineering, particularly in the areas of gear dynamics and health monitoring systems. My research has provided me with a deep understanding of the complexities involved in geared transmission systems and the techniques required to detect and analyze damage. After my Ph.D graduation, I want to pursue a career in the automotive or aerospace industry, where I can continue to advance my learning in this field.

Suhas Gupta Thunuguntla, Ph.D Candidate, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Oakland University