gear - machine part which transmits motion and force from one rotary shaft to another by means of successively engaging projections, called teeth. The smaller gear of a pair is called the pinion; the larger, the gear. When the pinion is on the driving shaft, the gear set acts as a speed reducer; when the gear drives, the set acts as a speed multiplier. The basic gear type is the spur gear, or straight-tooth gear, with teeth cut parallel to the gear axis. Spur gears transmit power in applications utilizing parallel shafts. In this type of gear, the teeth mesh along their full length, creating a sudden shift in load from one tooth to the next, with consequent noise and vibration. This problem is overcome by the helical gear, which has teeth cut at an angle to the center of rotation, so that the load is transferred progressively along the length of the tooth from one edge of the gear to the other. When the shafts are not parallel, the most common gear type used is the bevel gear, with teeth cut on a sloping gear face, rather than parallel to the shaft. The spiral bevel gear has teeth cut at an angle to the plane of rotation, which, like the helical gear, reduces vibration and noise. A hypoid gear resembles a spiral bevel gear, except that the pinion is offset so that its axis does not intersect the gear axis; it is widely used in automobiles between the engine drive shaft and the rear axle. Offset of the axes of hypoid gears introduces additional sliding between the teeth, which, when combined with high loads, requires a high quality EP oil. A worm gear consists of a spirally grooved screw moving against a toothed wheel; in this type of gear, where the load is transmitted across sliding, rather than rolling, surfaces, compounded oils or EP oils are usually necessary to maintain effective lubrication.