The automotive industry has come a long way and has advanced in every step. With every new release, a great improvement is made. Here, we will take an in-depth look into one of these great additions to the clutch system. Clutch systems are very vital to manual cars, and this is because they play a key role: allow shifting from one gear to another. Clutches were initially developed to compensate for the limited torque in engines. Thus this limit resulted in drive wheels having different speeds. This had to be countered, and thus a transmission system was developed. Transmission development ensured efficiency for the engines as every wheel rotated at a similar speed. This development, however, created another problem: making gear changes. This was very difficult in manual cars. In order to have an efficient change, the power to the transmission had to be cut. This was obviously very inconvenient to the driver, as they would have to stop and turn off the engine for every gear change to be made. A solution was found to counter this. It was the clutch. It would allow power to the transmission to be disconnected without necessarily having to stop the engine.
The clutch is comprised of a disc covered with materials to counter friction on both sides. This is then set on the flywheel. This is how they work:
When the disc is pressed from outside, it rotates together with the flywheel due to the friction generated. An input shaft of the transmission is connected to this disc. This resulting force from pressing on the wheel will allow power to be transmitted from the engine to the transmission system. The pressing force comes from a pressure plate that is firmly attached to the flywheel. When a gear change is to be engaged, another component comes into play; a component known as the diaphragm spring. This spring is enclosed within the pressure plate. The spring and the plate are connected via their outer portions. When the diaphragm spring is pressed inwards, it causes the pressure plate to move outwards, thus discontinuing power flow to the transmission. A gear shift is made while the power is cut temporarily, and once the clutch pedal is released, the transmission continues. The clutch plates also contain springs vital for smoothening power transmission force from the engine.
Unfortunately, the single-plate clutch was not very efficient because of its low torque capacity. Thus the twin disc clutch was developed. This development increased torque without having to increase spring strength or disc diameter. The two clutch plates are separated by a cast iron plate. Just like in the single plate mechanism, these too are covered by friction resistant materials such as carbon fiber and graphite and are attached to the flywheel. A diaphragm spring is also included, and a pressure plate covers them all. To protect from harsh environmental conditions, the entire mechanism is covered by a steel covering called the basket. This clutch was first seen in racing cars as they required the best acceleration and the ability to maintain traction. Because of the component efficiency, it was later incorporated into heavy machinery vehicles. The twin disc clutch has done away with strenuous pedal efforts that often resulted in sore legs and heavy clutch chatter in vehicles with a low number of gears. The minimum pedal effort that comes with this clutch is definitely more convenient and provides increased efficiency for its users. These dual plates have rapidly gained attention, especially in movies such as Fast and Furious, and this has caught the attention of car enthusiasts whose interest has been piqued to this technological advancement. This has definitely redefined the automotive industry.