How a car Clutch Work
What is a clutch?
A car clutch is a very simple device which is not exclusive to automobiles. It synchronizes two gears of different speeds in a smooth manner.
The role of clutch in vehicles is to connect and disconnect the transmission and the crankshaft.
What does it do?
Generally the clutch acts like a brake for the engine. This is the reason why improper shifting causes car to stall. The car clutch slows down the engine so that the wheels can catch up.
What are its parts?
- The Flywheel
This part of the clutch is attached to the crank and it moves with the engine.
- The clutch disc
It is located in between the flywheel and the pressure plate. Both of its sides have friction surfaces which are similar to the brake pad. It creates or breaks the contact with the metal flywheel and pressure plate surfaces. This allows smooth engagement and disengagement.
- The pressure plate
As soon as the clutch pedal is depressed, the pressure plate releases. Thus, allowing itself and the pressure wheel to spin independent of the disc. This prevents the torque from being transmitted from the engine to the gearbox. The pressure plate is normally made up of cast iron steel and it uses a diaphragm type spring to apply force against the disc once engaged, which is fastened to the assembly by a series of straps.
- Throw out Bearings
The throw out bearing sits against the pressure plate in either a push style or pull style arrangement that compresses the diaphragm and releases the disc when the clutch pedal is depressed. The disc would start spinning independent of the assembly when the diaphragm is released, once the force is applied.
The images shown below will show how the clutch works when engaged and disengaged.
Types of Clutch
There are two types of clutches. Check them out below:-
- Wet Clutch
In this clutch the entire assembly is fully immersed in engine oil and is lubricated by it. A little power loss can be attributed with this approach due to viscosity of the oil. But at the same time is improves the overall life of the clutch and reduces the sound.
- Dry Clutch
It is self explanatory that this clutch does not have anything between the whole mechanisms. It is better as there is no other material restricting the transfer of power. They are loud and create a rattling sound. The life span of this clutch is low as compared to the wet clutch.
What happens when you press the clutch pedal?
When the clutch is engaged, everything would spin as one unit. If you will press the clutch pedal in, the clutch assembly is disengaged. The shaft and the clutch both spin independently of the flywheel and pressure plate.
As soon as you will allow the clutch pedal out, the friction surfaces on both the sides of the clutch disc will begin to make contact with the metal surfaces of the flywheel and pressure plate, and the power of the engine is transferred with the help of transmission input shaft, with the help of gears and right down on the road.
The tricky part involved here is that you will have to match up the speed of the engine to the engagement of the friction surfaces. This is done so that you don’t get caught in the clutches of a potentially embarrassing engine stall.
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