We use gears every day, often in placed where we don’t even think about them, but how much do you really know about them? Here are three facts you may not have picked up about gears:
1. Gears Are Really, Really Old Technology
A gear is a circular piece of metal with teeth that, when it is meshed with another gear of a similar kind or with another piece of machinery, permits some torque to be transmitted between them. Gears seem like fairly complex technology, so you may think that they wouldn’t have emerged until the eighteen hundreds during the industrial revolution or perhaps the renaissance. Gears aren’t quite as modern as that. In fact, the technology behind gear cutting is really, really ancient. The oldest gears date back to even the Greeks in the first century BC. At the time, the custom gears were made of bronze. Of course things have advanced a bit more since then; they have certainly had a lot of time to do so!
2. They Are Made Strong
The Greeks were known to use bronze in their gear mechanisms. These days, a much more common material to find in gears is cast iron. Gear manufacturing companies chose cast iron because it is very hardy and durable, leading to a longer lifespan in gears before they wear away, and because it is fairly inexpensive when compared to other materials. Proportionately, it is a good investment, and it is certainly a long way from bronze!
3. They Are Extremely Versatile
The material that gears are constructed from isn’t the only thing that has advanced since those ancient times though. Over time, a great deal of different gear types have been developed. Bevel gears, worm gears, circular gears, splined shafts and hubs all serve a specific purpose. For example, bevel gears find use in power plants, printing presses, and trains while splined shafts are more commonly found in vehicles. Each gear is designed to best perform a specific job. How do they impact your life? Find out more about this topic here.