Date of Award

Fall 2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Applied Science (MASc)


Mechanical Engineering


Stephen Veldhuis



Committee Member

M. P. Sklad


The aim of this study was to explore environmentally friendly solutions to reduce the friction present in automotive transmissions.

A 2005 Ford Escape Hybrid transmission was used in this study to establish reasonable operating conditions for the gear surfaces.

Background on gear operation and surface interaction was studied to understand the nature of the contact between the gear surfaces. Based on this, a mathematical model of gear interaction was developed and used to bracket the loading conditions of the gear tooth interface to be up to 1.5GPa of contact pressure with 2m/s relative sliding velocity. This information was used to aid in the identification of suitable surface engineering technologies and set the operating conditions for reciprocating tribometer based measurements.

Additionally, tribological tests were performed on pin-on-disc samples which were treated with various surface treatments. The resulting wear surfaces were then studied using optical and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) as well as Raman Spectroscopy. These techniques were used to better understand the mechanisms associated with wear and the role that the surface treatments played in reducing wear. Based on the testing performed, the best surface treatment for this application was a super finishing process. This process also met cost and environmental constraints. An in-house dynamometer was also developed to be used in the future full scale testing of a transmission.

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