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Mechanical systems that use cluch and brake

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7 examples of clutch application in automobiles:-

  1. Friction Clutch between engine and drive-train to engage-disengage power supply to drive-train as and when required and to allow engine to idle when vehicle is stopped. (Further interesting application format: Dual clutches)
  2. Dog Clutch in constant mesh gearbox to engage-disengage gears. (Manual transmission vehicles)
  3. Overrunning clutch in automatic transmissions to engage-disengage overdrive. (Automatic transmission vehicles)
  4. Lock-up clutch in torque converters to lock the torque converter above certain speeds to minimize losses. (Automatic transmission vehicles)
  5. Clutch to start-stop air conditioning systems's compressor.
  6. Clutches for Electronic Traction Control in certain high-end (by Indian Standards) automobiles.
  7. Clutches to transition between 2WD and 4WD (4-Wheel Drive).

Think of all those machines that require intermittent power transmission from a continuous power supply, or have more than one power trains. Clutches are bound to be used in them. For example:- Farm equipment, machine tools, any type of engine (tank, ship, helicopter, submarine, etc.). The list could go on. Now, all these systems also need brakes. cause they have a drive shaft that needs stopping at some point or the other.

EXTRA: One extremely high performance clutch is used in the F-35B JSF. This is a 5th generation fighter jet being built by NATO countries. The clutch is used to disengage-engage power supply to the lift fan from the turbine of the main engine. The lift fan enables the F-35B to land and take-off vertically (like a helicopter). The clutch presently being used wears out and needs a replacement in just 9 vertical take-offs !!!


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Mechanical brake and clutch assemblies are used in production equipment such as conveyors, bottle capping machines, box makers, fill and sealers, and textile processing equipment. They can also be found in transportation and off-road vehicles. Any application requiring regular disengaging and engaging gears, pulleys, belts, chains, and other rotating devices are good candidates for a mechanical brake and clutch assembly.


Clutch engagement is the major differentiator between clutch types:

  • Noncontact—Use a noncontact technology such as a magnetic field or eddy currents to provide engagement and drive. 
  • Friction—Between contact surfaces transmits power. This is the most common configuration. 
  • Toothed—Toothed contact surfaces transmit power without slipping. No heat is generated. Devices are engaged only when stopped or running at a slow speed (< 20 rpm). 
  • Wrap Spring—Torque is transmitted from input to output by a coiled spring that wraps around the output element. The device is disengaged when the spring is uncoiled via a control tang at its end. 
  • Oil Shear—Drive engagement is achieved by the viscous shear of transmission fluid between the device's plates. 
  • Plate/Disc—The torque level is controlled by compression springs that force plates together. 
  • Ball Detent—Ball detent is a slip mechanism in which, upon overload, balls ride up out of seats to overcome springs or air pressure engagement. 
  • Roller Detent—Rollers, held in place by springs, wedge between the inner and outer races to engage the clutch. 
  • Pawl Detent—Pawl detent is a slip clutch mechanism in which, upon overload, the pawl overcomes spring or air pressure engagement and rotates out of its detent. 

Brakes operate using a broad range of methods. Different types of operation available include:

  • Noncontact—Braking action is achieved through a non-contact technology such as a magnetic field, eddy currents, etc. 
  • Friction—Friction between contact surfaces transmits power. This is the most common type of brake. 
  • Toothed—Toothed contact surfaces transmit power without slipping or heat generation. Teeth are engaged only when stopped or running at a slow speed (< 20 rpm). 
  • Wrap Spring—A coiled spring wraps downward onto the rotating element. The brake is disengaged when the spring is uncoiled via a control tang at its end. 
  • Oil Shear—Braking action is engaged via the viscous action of the shearing of transmission fluid.
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