In an automobile engine, there is a mechanical device that allows the engine to work at a stationary position It is called a clutch. The component engages and disengages power transmission especially from a driving shaft to the driven shaft. In order words, clutches connect and disconnect two rotating shafts (drive shafts or line shafts).
Today we’ll be looking at the definition, working principle, parts, types, functions, as well as problems of clutch systems in automobile engines.
What is a clutch?
A clutch is a mechanical device that engages and disengages the power transmission from the driving shaft to the driven shaft. The device features two-shaft, one is connected to the engine or power unit (the driving member) while the other shaft provides the power output that does the work.
Working principle of a clutch
The working principle of a clutch is quite interesting and easy to understand. It works perfectly fine in that no torque/power is transmitted until the friction plates touch each other. The clutch consists of two different plates, one is mounted to the flywheel, and the other moves over the crankshaft. The amount of torque applied determines the amount of axial load that is applied to the friction disc.
This is to say the more the axial load the more the power transmission and the less the axial load, the lesser the power transmission. The moveable disc which is splined on the crankshaft moves back and forth with the aid of the clutch pedal. The load is applied by the pressure plate which is connected to multiple helical springs or single diaphragm springs. If the clutch pedal is complete press, the moveable friction disc moves back from the shaft which disengaged from the flywheel.
As there is no axial load applied by the pressure plate hence there is no power/torque transmission applied. This is why the engine can run without moving. And if the clutch pedal is completely released, the moveable friction disc slides forward on the shaft to the flywheel. This is the engaged condition when the disc touches the flywheel. The amount of working pressure applied is also determined by how much the clutch pedal is pressed. This means the amount of axial load applied by the pressure plate will reflect on the power transmitted.
The video below contains how a clutch works:
Parts of a clutch:
The following are the major parts of a clutch but there are a lot of small parts that are still featured in it:
- Flywheel: this clutch part is mounted on the crankshaft, it keeps running as long as the engine is working. A friction disc is mounted on the outer side of the flywheel.
- Friction disc: the friction disc could be single or multiple discs depending on its application. It is made of material with a high coefficient of friction. The friction disc is mounted on a drive shaft.
- Pressure plate: the pressure plate features another friction disc on it. this pressure plate is mounted on the splined hub.
- Spring and release levers: the function of the springs is to move the friction disc back and forth. Clutches use diaphragm springs and levers help to retract the spring.
Different types of clutches:
The following stated below represent different types of clutch used on engines
- Single-plate clutch
- Multi-plate clutch
- Cone clutch
- Centrifugal clutch
- Electromagnetic clutch
- Hydraulic clutch
- Shaft and lever linkage
- Cable linkage
- Hydraulic-operator clutch linkage
Functions of clutch:
Below are the functions of a clutch in a car:
- The clutch helps the engine to run at a stationary position.
- It can be used to reduce engine speed.
- it enables easy changing of gears.
- Smooth vehicle control is achieved
Common Clutch Problems:
Clutches are expected to last up to 80,00 miles if treated and maintained. below is the common problem that often occurs with car clutches:
- Broken Cable:
- Air in the hydraulic line
- Hard clutch
- Symptoms of a Failing Clutch Slave Cylinder and its Replacement Cost
- How to Bleed a Hydraulic Clutch
- AC compressor clutch not engaging (causes and how to fix it)
- Difference between multi-plate and single-plate clutch
- Understanding Single Plate Clutch
That’s it for this article, “Understanding Automobile Clutch System”. I hope you enjoyed the reading, if so, kindly comment, share, and recommend this site to technical other students. Thanks!