Introduction to an automobile clutch and its importance

This article gives you a brief introduction of an automobile clutch as well as its importance during the working of an automobile. The article also gives characteristics of the clutch as well as its classification based on its different types. Read the article to know about an automobile clutch

Introduction to clutch

An automobile is a means of transportation from one place to other. During transportation, we need to change the speed of our vehicle/automobile to cope up with the stoppage or traffic. Who does this work? Clutch and brake. Brake stops the vehicle after putting down the gears. Simply put, a clutch is a mechanism or connected elements which connect/engages or disconnects/disengages the transmission of power/torque from one working part (engine) to other. It is normally fitted or placed between engine and gearbox. It engages and disengages the motion between these two parts. But what are its different characteristics by which it can be best judged for its use and application point of view?

Functions of clutch

  • Clutch does engaging and disengaging of engine from gearbox.
  • To reduce the shocks and vibration of engine during transmission of engine power to rear axle by universal joint
  • To change the gear during motion of engine by disengagement of gearbox from engine.

Basic requirements of clutch

  • Clutch should be able to engage and disengage the engine and gearbox without any jerks or shocks during stationary as well as moving conditions.
  • Clutch should contain such mechanism that it should not produce extra vibration but instead it should damp the vibration and noise by its simple construction.
  • Clutch should be capable of transmitting maximum power and maximum torque easily without any breakage.
  • The clutch design should ensure heat dissipation during working of clutch thus heat transfer for clutch unit should be properly designed
  • Clutch should also be dynamically balanced in order to reduce the vibration. Imbalance is the root cause of any vibration.

Introduction to an automobile clutch and its importance

Types/Classification of Clutches

Clutches are classified as under:
  • Centrifugal clutch
  • Coil pressure spring clutch
  • Semi centrifugal clutch
  • Friction clutch, Friction clutches are further classified into three types, viz. Cone clutch, single plate and multi-plate clutch
  • Positive clutch (Dog and spline type clutches)
  • Diaphragm clutch or conical spring clutch (taper fingered type and crown spring type)

Some of the practical example of clutches which are used by automobile companies in their brands.
  • Honda Activa: Centrifugal type, auto clutch for auto-transmission
  • Jeep: Single plate type friction clutch
  • Royal Enfield Bullet: Multi-plate type friction clutch
  • Ambassador: Single dry plate clutch
  • Bajaj Pulsar: Multi plate clutch

Possible defects in clutch

  • Lining of clutch plate may be worn out due to pro long use of it
  • Surface or linings may be greasy or slippery.
  • Incorrect pedal alignment or engagement during engagement and disengagement.
  • Burnt pressure plates
  • Worn out bearings

Design, analysis and manufacturing of clutch

To design a clutch is a very tough task as one need to consider all factors like alloying material or base metal of clutch and linings, bearing types, lever design, shaft design as well as finite element analysis or finite element method of the complete clutch. Once the complete design is completed by the proper calculation of stress as well as dimension checking, assembly is loaded into analysis software with proper boundary conditions like loads and stress coming on each part during running conditions, the design is checked for safety against failure. After confirmation about safe design, components are sent for final manufacturing. During manufacturing, if any problem found, the feedback is given to the design section to modify keeping all safety matters into consideration. This design and manufacturing is a very tough task because they need to go with parallel. This type of problems or parts of problems can be given as final year project topics to mechanical engineering students.

Note: Hope you have enjoyed the article, write back to me by commenting below to this article.



Author: K Mohan07 Jul 2017 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 3

The importance of clutch has been well defined and for the new vehicle user this would be a good tutorial. In every automobile whether scooter, motorcycle or even the car, the clutch plays the important role in controlling the speed of the vehicle. Though brakes do the needful to stop the vehicle, it is the clutch that actually manages the motion of the vehicle further and thus the vehicle user can feel the slow down of vehicle and he can apply little break to stop the vehicle. Nowadays cars are coming with just accelerator and break and no presence of clutch and for them driving other vehicle with clutch could be challenging.

Author: Umesh11 Mar 2020 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 4

Clutch is the very important part of the automobile system as it is required whenever we want to change the speed for which gear is to be changed for optimal efficiency of fuel. We have to remember that clutch is a mechanical device and prone to wear and tear. It is necessary that we should use the clutch in a proper way. Many people have a tendency to rest their feet on the clutch with slight pressure. It is very detrimental to the life of the clutch. This article has well explained the working of a clutch in an automobile and after reading it one would definitely take care of the clutch in one's vehicle. Nowadays there are vehicles coming with automatic gear change mechanisms also. In that case, the hassle of pressing the clutch would not be there.

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