Automobile

Understanding Cone Clutch

A cone clutch is another type of automobile clutch, it serves the same purpose as a disk or plate clutch. However, instead of mating two spinning disks, the cone clutch uses two conical surfaces to transmit torque by friction. When changing gear ratios, it is utilized to engage and release the engine shaft from the transmission box shaft. The torque is transmitted by friction between two conical surfaces in a cone clutch. One surface is referred to as the male member, while the other is referred to as the female member.

Today, you’ll learn the definition, applications, construction, parts, diagram, working, advantages, and disadvantages of a cone clutch.

Read more: Understanding an automobile clutch

What is a cone clutch?

Clutches are mechanical devices that engage and disengage power transmission from the driving shaft to the driven shaft, primarily from the driving shaft to the driven shaft. Between the Flywheel and the Pressure Plate is a clutch. The driven shaft is usually attached to the engine, whereas the driving shaft provides output power.

It is a friction clutch that has cone-shaped frictional areas. These types of clutches are commonly used in synchromesh and epicyclic gearboxes. Cone clutches were the first to be used in automobiles, and they remained popular due to their simplicity until the 1920s when they were replaced by single plate clutches due to the former’s poor operating qualities.

When opposed to a positive displacement clutch, which was utilized before cone clutches were designed, a cone clutch is easier to engage and disengage.

Because the cone clutch has a larger contact area than a plate clutch of the same size, it may transfer more torque. For the clutch to function properly, the driving and driven shafts must be exactly coaxial. When high torque transmission at low rotational speed is necessary, this clutch can be employed. As a result, heavier trucks commonly use this sort of clutch.

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Applications of cone clutch

The followings are the applications of a cone clutch.

  • It is used as a synchronizer in a variety of manual transmissions.
  • Because of their ability to transmit tremendous torque, they are used in a variety of heavy machinery.
  • Clutches like these are typically employed in low-speed peripheral applications.
  • It’s a popular choice for powerboats.
  • In racing and rallying automobiles, this clutch is employed.
  • It’s found in some cars and other types of combustion engine transmissions.

Construction

A cone clutch is made up of two parts: a male and a female cone. The female portion is attached to the flywheel, which is bolted to the engine crankshaft and serves as a driving component. The male component is divided into two halves, one of which is the central hub and the other of which is the outer cone. For strength, the cone section is composed of aluminum, while the hub is constructed of steel. The male part’s hub is splined and fitted over the transmission’s input shaft, allowing it to travel axially over it. Friction materials are used to line the contact surfaces of the male and female parts. A spring forces the male part against the female portion, and a throw-out bearing connected to the male part allows the parts to be disengaged.

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Parts of cone clutch

The followings are the major parts of a cone clutch:

parts of a cone clutch

Female cone (outer cone):

When the engine turns, the female part connected to the engine rotates, and the male part rotates owing to friction between the cone plates.

Male cone (Inner cone):

The male cone of a cone clutch is the section of the clutch that connects to the gearbox and is machined in the shape of a solid cone over which frictional material is affixed.

Flywheel:

The female part works as a driving member, and the flywheel is bolted to the engine crankshaft and connected to it.

Spring:

The purpose of the spring in this clutch is to press the male part against the female part. The clutch is engaged and disengaged using a standard thrust spring positioned behind the male cone.

Clutch Shaft:

It is connected to the gearbox and uses the clutch to transmit power from the engine. Also, splines on the drive shaft with teeth or ridges that mesh with grooves to impart torque.

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Throw-out bearing:

A throw-out bearing is a component of this clutch that allows the engine to be briefly disengaged while shifting gears in a manual transmission.

Friction Lining:

The friction lining is applied to the inside surface of the outer cone and the outside surface of the inner cone to ensure that the male and female cones interact smoothly.

Clutch pedal:

The clutch is engaged and disengaged with the help of a clutch pedal.

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Diagram of a cone clutch:

Diagram of a cone clutch

Working Principle

The working of a cone clutch is less complex and can be easily understood. Because of the springs, when the clutch is engaged, the male part presses against the female part. With its friction surfaces in contact, the male component is totally contained within the female part. When the engine turns, the female part connected to the engine rotates, and the male part rotates as well due to friction between the cone plates. As a result, motion is transferred from the driving to the driven member.

When the driver depresses the clutch pedal, the linkage moves the throw-out bearing, which causes the male cone to move away from the female cone, causing the clutch to disengage. When the driver releases the clutch pedal, the male portion returns to its previous position, allowing the clutch to re-engage.

Watch the video below to learn more one the working of a cone clutch:

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Advantages and disadvantages of a cone clutch

Advantages:

Below are the benefits of a cone clutch in its various applications:

  • The normal force exerted on the contact surfaces is greater than the axial force in this clutch.
  • When compared to plate clutches of the same size, it may transfer a lot of torque.
  • The clutch requires less effort to operate since the mating surfaces are in the shape of a wedge.
  • Compared to other clutch plates, it makes less noise.

Disadvantages:

Despite the good benefits of a cone clutch, some limitations still occur. Below are the disadvantages of cone clutch in their various applications:

  • The effort required to disengage the clutch will be greater if the cone’s angle is large.
  • Even minor wear on the cone surface prevents the clutch from working properly.
  • When the cone angle is reduced to roughly 20 degrees, the male cone tends to bind or join the female cone, making it harder to release the clutch.
  • Faces should be dressed on a regular basis. (Dressing – The act of mending or applying lubricants to keep surfaces smooth for easy operation.)

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Conclusion

Instead of mating two spinning disks, the cone clutch uses two conical surfaces to transmit torque by friction. When changing gear ratios, it is utilized to engage and release the engine shaft from the transmission box shaft. That is all for this article, where the definition, applications, construction, parts, diagram, working, advantages, and disadvantages of a cone clutch are been discussed.

I hope you learn a lot from the lesson, if so, kindly share with other students. Thanks for reading, see you around!