Grashof's Law - Formula and Significance -->

Grashof's Law - Formula and Significance

Four Bar Chain

Understanding Grashof's Law in Mechanics

Grashof's Law is a fundamental concept in mechanism design and kinematics that describes the relationship between the length of the crank and connecting rod in slider-crank mechanisms. Grashof's Law plays an important role in the theoretical analysis and practical design of mechanisms across diverse engineering fields, including machines, motors, robotics, and more. Let’s look deeper at what exactly Grashof's Law states and how it informs the design of linkage assemblies.

What is Grashof's Law in Four Bar Chain

According to Grashof's Law, in a planar four-bar linkage mechanism, for a continuous relative rotation between two members of the mechanism, the sum of the shortest and longest link lengths must not exceed the sum of the remaining two link lengths.


The Law can be mathematically represented as follows:

s+ l ≤ p + q


s - Shortest link length

l - Longest link length

p and q - Remaining two link lengths

If this condition is not met, the mechanism will not function properly and may result in failure or instability. This is because the shortest and longest links will intersect, preventing the mechanism from completing its intended motion. When the above mentioned inequality is not met, the chain is classified as a non-Grashof chain. In such a chain, none of the links can complete a full revolution relative to the other links.

It's important to understand that Grashof's Law does not dictate the specific arrangement of the links. As a result, any of the links with lengths l, p, and q can be positioned opposite to the link with length s. In a four-bar linkage, a link that can rotate continuously in the same direction is known as a crank, while a link that can only oscillate is referred to as a rocker (or lever). The remaining moving link is called the coupler. A chain that adheres to Grashof's Law generates three distinct inversions. On the contrary, a non-Grashof chain produces only one distinct inversion, namely the "Rocker-Rocker mechanism."

Design Implications of Grashof's Law

Grashof's Law has several practical applications in the design of machines. This Law has significant implications in the design and analysis of machines, as it helps engineers determine the feasibility and stability of a mechanism. For example, it helps engineers determine the optimal placement of links in a mechanism to achieve the desired motion. It is particularly useful in the design of crank-rocker mechanisms, which are commonly used in engines and machines. It also aids in the identification of potential design flaws and can assist in troubleshooting problems in a mechanism.

When designing or analysing a slider-crank mechanism, carefully evaluating the Grashof condition is crucial. It dictates the feasible range of connecting rod lengths that will permit full rotational motion without clashes. Respecting Grashof's Law ensures smooth, reliable functioning of the mechanism over extended operating cycles. It is an indispensable tool for kinematic synthesis during the conceptualisation and detailed design phases of machines incorporating slider-crank linkages.

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