What is Clutch and Types of Clutches

In this article, we learn what is clutch, the function of clutches, and the types of clutches.

What is Clutch?

A Clutch is a mechanism to transmit rotary motion from one shaft (driving shaft) to another coincident shaft, (driven shaft), as and when required, without stopping the driver shaft.

Clutches are also required to disengage the drive from the engine to the gearbox for changing the gears.

During the slowing of the vehicle or stop, the clutch is used to disengage the engine from the drive wheels and enable smooth stopping of the vehicle.

Since the clutch is of friction material, it also takes care of speed and torque variation from the engine crankshaft to the gearbox input shaft.

Function of Clutches

The clutch has the following four major functions:

1. When the clutch is engaged (clutch pedal position-up), the clutch transmits maximum power from the engine crankshaft to the gearbox input shaft.

2. When the clutch is engaging (clutch pedal position-moving up), the clutch accommodates minor slippages and hence provides smooth drive transmission without jerks.

3. When clutch is disengaged (clutch pedal position-down), the clutch allows the driver to shift the transmission in various gear positions (first, second, third, etc.)

4. When the clutch is disengaged (clutch pedal position-down), the engine can be cranked freely without transmitting the drive to the wheels.

Types of Clutches

Clutches are divided into the following two major categories:

  1. Friction clutches
  2. Positive clutches

1. Friction Clutches

These clutches work on the friction principle that when two independent discs have relative motion between them, friction is caused.

Friction clutches are the most commonly used clutches.

Friction clutches are further classified as follows:  

  1. Disc or plate clutches
  2. Cone clutches
  3. Semi-centrifugal clutches
  4. Centrifugal clutches

2. Positive Clutches

These clutches are used when a positive drive is required.

These types of clutches are used in sprocket wheels, gears, pulleys, etc.

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