What is Chain Drive and Types of Chain Drive

In this article, we learn what is chain drive, the types of chain drives, and the advantages and disadvantages of chain drives.

What is Chain Drive?

In the case of belt drive, while transmitting motion, slipping may occur. Hence, to avoid slipping steel chains are used.

The chains are made up of a number of rigid links which are hinged together by using pin joints, to provide the necessary flexibility of wrapping around the driving and driven wheels.

The driving and driven wheels have projecting teeth of special profile and fit into the corresponding recesses in the chain links.

The toothed wheels are called sprockets.

The chain drive is commonly used to transmit motion from one shaft to another shaft for a short center distance.

Chain drives are commonly used in bicycles, motorcycles, conveyors, road rollers, rolling mills, agricultural machinery, etc.

For the effective functioning of the chain, drive lubrication is required.

Types of Chain Drive

On the basis of application, the chains are classified into the following groups:

  1. Hoisting (crane) chains
  2. Conveyor (tractive) chains

1. Hoisting (Crane) Chains

These chains are used for hoisting purposes and operate at maximum velocity.

The links of these chains may be of oval shape or square in shape.

The manufacturing cost of a chain with square links is less than the oval shape links, but chain with oval shape links is commonly used.

2. Conveyor Chains

These types of chains are used for elevating and conveying the materials continuously at a moderate speed.

These chains are generally made of cast Iron and they do not have smooth running qualities.

The chains may be of hook joint type or closed join type.

Advantages of Chain Drive

In chain-drive there is no slip, hence perfect speed ratio is obtained.

The chains are made of metal, hence they occupy less space in width than the belt drive.

For a short distance, the transmission efficiency of the chain-drive is more than the belt drive.

It offers/provides fewer loads on the shafts.

This drive has the ability to transmit motion to several shafts by using one chain only.

It can be operated under low/high temperatures and adverse atmospheric Conditions.

The chain-drive transmits more power than the belt drive.

Disadvantages of Chain Drive

The manufacturing cost of chains is more than the belts.  

The chain-drive needs accurate mounting and careful maintenance like proper lubrication.

Some of the chains produce noise during the operation.

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