What is a Clutch? - Types of Clutches


What is a Clutch?

The clutch is a mechanical device, which is used to connect a driving shaft to driven shaft so that they can be engaged and disengaged at the will of the operator. They used to start and stop a part of a system without stopping remaining parts of the power transmission system. They are used mostly in automobiles. The clutch allows to insert a gear system (gearbox) between engine and wheels, facilitate gear changing when the engine is running. Other applications of clutch: Torque limiting clutch in the electric screwdriver, bicycles pedal ratcheting.

Types of clutches

Following are the main types of clutches.
Positive clutch: They were used when a positive drive is required.
Friction clutches: In this type of clutch power transmission achieved by friction.
Cone clutch: Type of friction clutch with a conical surface.
Electromagnetic clutch: These clutches have an electromagnet, and they activated by DC current.
Centrifugal clutch: Work on the principle of centrifugal force.
Belt clutch: Power transmitted via a set of belts that can slack and tighten by using idler pulleys. Generally used on agricultural equipment.
Overrunning clutch or freewheel: This type of clutch allows the driven shaft to rotate faster than the driver. E.g. Ratchet in a bicycle.
Safety clutch: This allows to slip when the driver encountered a higher resistance.
Fluid clutch: Shafts are not in contact; power transmits through the hydrodynamic coupling.

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