Clutch Basics

SKU: C-582Duration: 21 Minutes

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Language:  English

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Course Details


Training Time: 21 minutes

Compatibility: Desktop, Tablet, Phone

Based on: Industry Standards and Best Practices

Languages: English

A clutch is a device that connects and disconnects a driving (input) shaft and a driven (output) shaft. Clutches are important for applications where the motor needs to be started before it is connected to the load or disconnected before it is stopped. There are many different types of clutches, each with advantages and disadvantages. The proper choice depends on the speed, torque, loading characteristics, and operating temperature of the application.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • Describe the purpose of a clutch
  • Identify different clutch types
  • Describe the components and how each type works
  • Describe the advantages and disadvantages of each type
  • Describe typical applications for each type

Key Questions

The following key questions are answered in this module:

What are the basic clutch types?
There are friction clutches (plate, cone, centrifugal), positive clutches (square-jaw, spiral-jaw), overrunning clutches (ratchet and pawl), and fluid couplings.

How are clutches engaged and disengaged?
Friction clutches (the most common type) can be engaged and disengaged mechanically, pneumatically, hydraulically, and electrically.

What type of clutch is used most often in automobiles?
Plate clutches are used in most automobiles to engage and disengage the engine to and from the gearbox, which drives the wheels.

What is the difference between a "dry clutch" and a "wet clutch"?
Wet clutches are similar to dry clutches but the plates are surrounded by oil. The oil helps cool the clutch and reduce noise, but it also reduces friction, which is why most wet clutches have multiple plates or discs.

What is a "fluid coupling"?
In a fluid coupling, a fluid is used to transmit torque instead of mechanical contact. The torque converter in an automatic transmission vehicle is a type of fluid coupling.

Sample Video Transcript

Below is a transcript of the video sample provided for this module:

A single-plate clutch consists of a plate, or disc, covered with a frictional material on both faces. The disc is mounted to a hub that is free to move axially on the output shaft. A pressure plate is bolted to the flywheel on the end of the input shaft. To engage the clutch, the pressure plate pushes the disc against the flywheel. Torsion dampening springs between the hub and disc absorb shock and vibration as the clutch is engaged. A multi-disc clutch can be used for high-torque applications where there is a need for more surface area but not enough space for a single, large disc. For this reason, multi-disc clutches are commonly used in motorcycles. Most car clutches are single-plate clutches. There are many ways frictional clutches can be engaged and disengaged.

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