Thermal Mapping of an Automotive Rear Drive Axle
In recent years, there has been a sustained effort by the automotive OEMs and suppliers to improve the vehicle driveline efficiency. This has been in response to customer demands for greater vehicle fuel economy and increasingly stringent government regulations. The automotive rear axle is one of the major sources of power loss in the driveline, and hence represents an area where power loss improvements can have a significant impact on overall vehicle fuel economy. Both the friction induced mechanical losses and the spin losses vary significantly with the operating temperature of the lubricant. Also, the preloads in the bearings can vary due to temperature fluctuations. The temperatures of the lubricant, the gear tooth contacting surfaces, and the bearing contact surfaces are critical to the overall axle performance in terms of power losses, fatigue life, and wear.