If you drive a manual transmission car, you may be surprised to find that it has more than one clutch. And it turns out that people with automatic transmission cars have clutches, too. There are clutches in many things you're likely to see or use every day: a lot of cordless drills have a clutch, chain saws have a centrifugal clutch, and even some yo-yos have a clutch.
It would help if you had a clutch in a car because the engine spins all the time, but the car's wheels don't. To stop the car without killing the engine, the wheels must somehow be disconnected from the engine. The clutch allows us to smoothly engage the spinning engine in a non-spinning transmission by controlling the slippage between them.
If you are driving a manual transmission, the clutch is connected to both the shaft coming from the engine and the shafts that turn the wheels. While the engine is going to spin continuously, you don't want the wheels to spin continuously.
When your foot is off the pedal, the springs push the pressure plate against the clutch disk, which then presses against the flywheel. This locks the engine to the transmission input shaft, causing it to rotate at the same speed.
When the pedal of the clutch is pressed, the cable or hydraulic piston is pressed onto the release fork, which presses the discharge bearing against the center of the spring of the diaphragm. As the center of the diaphragm spring is pushed in, a series of pins near the outside of the spring cause the spring to pull the pressure plate away from the clutch disk. This releases the clutch of the spinning engine.
In order for your car to stop without the entire engine having to shut down, the connection between the wheels and the engine has to be broken. Your clutch consists of two main parts:
In the clutch assembly of a manual transmission, the pressure plate, or clutch plate, acts alongside several other components, including the flywheel and clutch disc—both of which contribute to how the clutch becomes engaged and disengaged while initiating gears shifting and maintaining a specific speed.
There are springs in place that hold the pressure on the plate, which pushes up against the plate of the clutch. These springs, too, push the clutch plate up against the flywheel. When this happens, the engine shaft is connected to the wheel shaft, making both of them turn at the same time. In order to do the opposite, you need to engage the clutch.
The flywheel is a thick metal disk in a manual transmission. It is usually made of cast iron, steel or, in some cases, aluminium. It is extremely rigid to prevent flexing or warping during use.
The edge of the flywheel has a row of gear teeth that are connected to the engine starter motor. The flywheel is fastened to a flange on the transmission side of the crankshaft inside the bell housing. On the side of the manual transmission, the surface is machined flat for the clutch disk to be mounted.
The flywheel provides a mass of rotational inertia to keep your car's engine running. Otherwise, the engine will stall when you let your foot out of the accelerator.
It's going to balance the engine. The flywheel is specifically weighted to the car crankshaft to smooth out the rough feeling caused by even a slight imbalance.
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