Revised Lewis Bending Stress Capacity Model

Edward. E. Osakue1, *, Lucky Anetor2
1 Department of Industrial Technology, Texas Southern University, Houston, Texas, USA
2 Department of Engineering, Texas Southern University, Houston, Texas, USA

© 2020 Osakue and Anetor.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Industrial Technology, Texas Southern University, Houston, Texas, USA; Tel: 832-316-3279; E-mail:



During operation, cylindrical gearset experiences tangential, radial, and axial (helical gears only) force components that induce bending, compressive, and shear stresses at the root area of the gear tooth. Accurate estimation of the effective bending stress at the gear root is a challenge. Lewis was the first person who attempted estimating the root bending stress of spur gears with some reasonable accuracy. Various gear standards and codes in use today are modifications and improvements of the Lewis model.


This research aims at revising the Lewis model by making adjustments for dynamic loads, shear stresses, axial bending stress for helical gears, and stress concentration factor that is independent on the moment arm of tangential or axial force component.


An analytical approach is used in formulating a modified formula for the root bending stress in cylindrical gears starting with the original Lewis model. Intermediate expressions are developed in the process and works from many previous authors are reviewed and summarized. The new model developed is used to estimate the root bending stress in four example gearsets of 0o to 41.41o helix angle and the results are compared with those of AGMA (American Gear Manufacturers Association) formula.


Analysis from the examples shows that neglecting the radial compressive stress over-estimated the root bending stress by 5.27% on average. When shear stresses are ignored, the root bending stress is under-estimated by 7.49% on average. It is important, therefore, to account for both compressive and shear stresses in cylindrical gear root bending stress. When the root bending stress estimates from the revised Lewis model were compared with AGMA results, deviations in the range of -4.86% to 26.61% were observed. The stress estimates from the revised Lewis formulae were mostly higher than those of AGMA.


The new root bending stress model uses stress concentration factors (normal and shear) that are independent of the point of load application on the gear tooth. This decoupling of stress concentration factor from the load moment arm distinguishes the new model from AGMA formula and brings bending stress analysis in gear design in line with classical bending stress analysis of straight and curved beams. The model can be used for both normal contact ratio and high contact ratio cylindrical gears.

Keywords: Lewis form factor, Bending stress, Base helix angle, Stress concentration factor, Lewis model, Cylindrical gear.