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There are two types of clutch systems:

Mechanical clutch system


Hydraulic clutch system
New or the recent vehicles are built with hydraulic systems due to their self adjusting characteristic this
is because older mechanical clutches needed frequent adjustment to maintain proper gap between the
clutch release bearing and the clutch pressure plate.
Focus however will be on the modern hydraulic system since is very likely that your car has this
modern system not the older design.
Major component in a hydraulic clutch system include:
1- Clutch master cylinder
2- Clutch pedal
3- Clutch slave cylinder
4- Clutch fork (not all cases)
5- Clutch release bearing
6- Clutch pressure plate
7- Clutch disc
8- Flywheel
9- Pilot bearing or pilot bushing (depending on the manufacturer).
Parts in clutch :-
The clutch assembly consists of many small parts but following are the major parts

1. Flywheel – The flywheel, mounted on the crankshaft, keeps on running as long as the engine keeps

running. The flywheel is equipped with friction surface OR a friction disc is bolted to outer side of

flywheel.

2. Friction discs – Single OR multiple(as per requirement) discs lined with friction material having high

coefficient of friction are mounted on the driven shaft.

3. Pressure plate – Another friction disc is bolted to pressure plate. The pressure plate is mounted on

the splined hub.

4. Spring & release levers – The spring used are diaphragm springs which moves friction disc back &

forth. The spring is retracted with the help of levers.

Working of Clutches(friction) :-
The principle behind working of clutches(friction) is that no torque/power gets transmitted until both

the friction plates touch each other.

Things to keep in mind before understanding the working –

 One friction plate is bolted to flywheel & the other is movable over the crankshaft.

 The amount of torque delivery depends on how much the axial load is applied on the friction
disc.

 The movable disc is splined on crankshaft & is able to move back and forth with help of clutch
pedal.

 More the axial load, more the power transmission; less the axial load, lesser power
transmission. Which also means
if Load=0, power transmitted=0 &
when Load= max spring force, power transmitted= maximum !

 Load is applied by the pressure plate since the pressure plate is connected to multiple helical
springs OR single diaphragm spring !

Types of Clutches :-
1. Single-plate clutch

2. Multi-plate clutch
3. Cone clutch

4. Centrifugal clutch

5. Electromagnetic clutch

6. Hydraulic clutch

Basic friction clutch

Most cars use a form of friction clutch which has all the normal components that
you have probably seen or heard of before. Operated hydraulically or by a cable, a
friction clutch uses a pressure plate, a clutch plate (or clutch disk) and a release
bearing to engage and disengage the flywheel and the transmission. Most cars will
use a simple single-plate clutch, with only higher powered engines needed a
multiplate clutch to engage the transmission properly.

When the clutch pedal is depressed, the release bearing applies a pressure to
diaphragm springs on the pressure plate which releases a clamping pressure on the
clutch plate and disengages the transmission from the flywheel.

As the gear change is made and the clutch is released, the release bearing is sent
back from the pressure plate and the clutch plate is again clamped and driven by
the pressure plate, allowing drive through to the transmission.
Wet and dry clutches

Wet clutches in general have multiple clutch plates (in cars) and have a supply of oil
to lubricate and cool the components. They are used in high torque situations
where friction levels would be high and therefore clutch temperatures would soar
without some form of coolant. Any powertrain over 250lb ft of torque should really
be employing a wet clutch to avoid excessive wear on the rest of the transmission
through overheating.

Dry clutches on the other hand have no oil supply and are generally single-plate.
This means they can be more efficient as lubrication can lead to a lack of friction
between the plates in a wet clutch as well as producing parasitic losses from the
drivetrain as a pump is needed to supply the lubricating oil. The small coefficient of
friction in a wet system is therefore the reason for having multiple plates for
effective clutch performance.
Multiplate clutch

With multiple friction plates stacked on top of each other, obvious benefits are that
the amount of friction generated within the clutch can be greatly amplified and
therefore it can cope with much higher torque inputs. Used in many racing cars
including Formula 1 and WRC, the amount of friction needed to stop the clutch
slipping can be fitted into the same diameter as a single-plate clutch due to the
neat stacking.

Dual-clutch systems
Dual-clutch transmissions now dominate the premium car market after their first
general release through the VW Mk4 Golf R32. Using one large clutch for odd gears
and a smaller clutch for even gears, this form of transmission is renowned for quick,
smooth changes and is now found in every supercar worth its salt, as well as many
hot hatches and saloons.

Used in automatic and semi-automatic setups, DCTs use two wet multiplate
clutches which eradicate the need for a torque converter. The shifts are seamless
due to the fact that the torque output to the driven wheels is not broken as it can be
applied to one clutch while the other is disengaging, meaning no break in output.

Electromagnetic and electrohydraulic clutches


Electromagnetic clutches can be used when mechanical sympathy and timing of
clutch operation is generally disregarded, with the clutch being actuated by a
simple button press on the gearstick or even a proximity sensor when your hand is
near the gearstick. When the clutch is actuated remotely, a DC current passes
through an electromagnet which produces a magnetic field. The armature is then
attracted to a rotor, creating a frictional force to engage the engine and
transmission.

Electromechanical clutches are prominent in the automotive industry, used in


virtually every paddle-shift system. By pulling on a paddle, an electrical signal is
sent to a computer which engages a servo to disengage the clutch hydraulically.

This negates the need for any form of clutch pedal and when combined with a DCT
transmission can become the most efficient form of gear changing on the market. In
general, these systems are used alongside more powerful powertrains and therefore
use multiple plates within the clutch.
There are a few other clutch types out there, but most of them are either extinct or
are only used in much smaller factions of the automotive sector. For
example, centrifugal clutches are widespread in the moped and biking industry,
using shoes (like on a drum brake) to engage and disengage the clutch. Dog
clutches are also used in non-synchromeshed transmissions but necessitate double
de-clutching and were brushed under the mat once gearboxes evolved.

If you’re looking to get more power from your engine through modifications, thinking
about your clutch is a must. As Alex experienced when turbocharging his MX-5,
once torque reaches a level too high for your clutch, the plates begin to slip as they
can’t handle the forces channeled through them. In this scenario, a clutch upgrade
is needed, and numerous aftermarket specialists manufacture performance
clutches for this reason. Most of us will only ever really encounter a standard
friction clutch on our travels, but there are plenty options out there if an increase in
power is on the cards.