Mechanical Basics

What Is A Clutch?

The Clutch is one of the mechanical devices in the Transmission System of Automobiles (Bike, Car, Truck, etc.). It is a device or set of several components that are connected to the Flywheel (end of the engine) whereas; Clutches are used to engage and disengage the driving shaft and pinion or driven shafts to transfer or stop the power transmission developed by the Engine. 

Clutch - Working, Types Of Clutches, Functions, and Advantages

The Driving Shaft is the main rotating shaft that is connected to the Engine (the power developed by engine is supplied to the driving shaft) and the Pinion or Driven Shaft is another rotating shaft (observe the above image – Single Plate Clutch) that is connected to Gear Box. As we know that, the rotation of any shaft is depends upon the torque developed by the source (or engine), and as the torque increase, the speed or rotation of the driving and driven shaft increases.

What can you learn from this post?

  • What is Transmission System in Automobile?
  • Parts of  Clutch
  • Types of Clutches
  • Working of Clutches
    • Working of Single Plate Clutch
    • Working of Multi Plate Clutch
    • Working of Cone Clutch
    • Working of Centrifugal Clutch
  • Advantages of Clutches
    • Advantages of Single Plate Clutch
    • Advantages of Multi Plate Clutch
    • Advantages of Cone Clutch
    • Advantages of Centrifugal Clutch
  • Functions of Clutches
  • Conclusion

What is Transmission System in Automobile?

The word transmission means that the transfer of something from one place to another. Similarly, the Transmission system is one of the useful systems in the Automobile vehicle where the engine power or kinetic energy (that developed by the engine) is transmitted to the driving wheels. A Transmission system is an interconnected system of many devices and the series of the transmission system is

Clutch – Gear box – Propeller shaft – Differential – Axles – Driving wheels

Now, let us start read about the parts of the clutch, working principle, types of clutches, working, and their advantages.

Parts Of Clutches:

The Clutch consists of many parts or components for its working so, a simple or regular clutch consists of following components and it may vary according to the type of clutch.

  • Pressure Plate
  • Disc or Friction plate or Clutch Plate
  • Fingers
  • Spacers
  • Bushes
  • Levers

These are the most important components utilized in a Clutch construction. 

Types of Clutches:

According to the speed of the engine developed, efficiency, performance, and day by day researches, Clutches are of various types, they are

  1. Single-Plate Clutch
  2. Multi-Plate Clutch
  3. Cone Clutch and
  4. Centrifugal Clutch

The working of each types of clutches are as follows.

Working of Clutches:

The working of clutch vary according to the type of clutch but the fundamental working of every clutch is similar in all the 4 types. As the function of the clutches is to disengage and engage the driven shaft with the driver shaft so, to perform this function, an external effort or pressure is required and it is nothing but the human effort.

Whenever the driver of the vehicle pushes the clutch’s lever, the pressure is applied on the pressure plate then the pressure plate will push the friction plate (disc or clutch plate) backward that is towards the driven shaft, which results in disengagement of the driven shaft with the driver shaft.

So, this is the basic working of clutches and this will be similar to the working of single plate clutch.

Working of Single Plate Clutch:

The working of single plate clutch is the basic type and used in the starting era of Automobile. I single plate clutches, we can find only one friction plate and it is connected to the Pressure plate adjoining to the Flywheel with the assistance of bolts. The friction plate has the property to regain its position when the pressure is removed. The friction plate or disc is positioned between the Pressure plate and Flywheel that is liberal to rotate.

When the Force is applied on the Clutch Pedal, then the disc will get disengage with the Flywheel and no Transmission of Torque takes place between them. Whenever the transmission is disengaged, the driver can able to change the gear and after changing it we can release the force on the Pressure Plate. After releasing, the Disc again Engages with the Flywheel automatically and transmission will take place.

Working of Multi Plate Clutch:

What Is Clutch - Working of Clutch, Its Types, and Functions of Clutch

The working of multi plate clutch is as same as the working of single plate clutches. But in the multi plate clutches, there are more than 1 friction plate (or clutch plat or disc), which then results in more Torque transmission.

Working of Cone Clutch:

What Is Clutch - Working of Clutch, Its Types, and Functions of Clutch

The working of the cone clutch is also quite similar to single plate clutches and multi plate clutches. The Friction plate (or disc or clutch plat) will be Wedge-shaped, due to the wedge shape, the clutch is called Cone, and the hub is called as Female Cone, which is designed in a way that the cone can fix into it whenever the force is removed.

As like the working of single plate clutches and multi plate clutches, the working of cone clutch is also the same, and whenever the pressure is applied, the cone will be moved backward direction and the disengagement of the driven shaft with driver shaft is achieved.

Working of Centrifugal Clutch: 

What Is Clutch - Working of Clutch, Its Types, and Functions of Clutch

The word Centrifugal is the force that tends the body to move away from its center. The working of centrifugal clutch is also similar to its meaning. In the other types of clutches, whenever the pressure is applied, the plate will move backward. Due to this backward movement, the strain over the driver shaft will be increased. 

So, to decrease the strain and to maintain the constant pressure force on the plates, the Semi-Centrifugal and Centrifugal Clutch will be used. The centrifugal Clutch will exert an outward force on the plates and it makes the springs engage with the plate even at High Speeds.

 Advantages of Clutches:

The advantages of different types of clutches are as follows:

Advantages of Multi Plate Clutch:

Due to the construction of multi plates in the multi plate clutches, 

  • The friction between the plates increases.
  • The efficiency of the clutch plate also increases. 

Advantages of Cone Clutch:

The main advantage of cone clutch is to transmit the Torque by minimizing the losses in the single plate clutch and multi plate clutch. Due to this Wedge or Cone Shape, the transmission of Torque is high, which further acquires an excellent efficiency. The cone clutch is used in Off-Road Vehicles, Racing vehicles, and Powerboats. 

Advantages of Centrifugal Clutch:

The centrifugal clutch is specially designed for Lower Speeds and Higher Speed Conditions, the Pressure of springs on the plate will be exerted at Low speeds and these pressure force will increase with the increase of speed and these springs will helps the plates to come backward movement.

Functions of Clutches:

The Functions of types of clutches are limited but prominent. The main functions of clutch are

  • To engage and disengage the pinion shaft (or driven shaft) with the main shaft (or crankshaft) of the engine at different power transmission stages. By engaging and disengaging the clutch will help the automobile to achieve a smooth movement of torque.
  • The functions of clutches also include controlling the speed of the automobile. 
  • In the manual transmission, the vehicle can be slow down by pushing and holding the clutch lever.


The clutches and its types are being more prominent in automobiles; the engagement and the disengagement of the driver shafts is necessary to change the gear ratio and to increase the speed. However, a few models without clutches developed and introduced in the market but they are not succeeded due to few faults. The different types of the clutch are developed to overcome the faults of their previous types of clutch.

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