Types of Clutches
Following are the two main types of clutches commonly used in engineering practice :
1. Positive clutches, and
2. Friction clutches
The positive clutches are used when a positive drive is required. The simplest type of a positive clutch is a jaw or claw clutch. The jaw clutch permits one shaft to drive another through a direct contact of interlocking jaws. It consists of two halves, one of which is permanently fastened to the driving shaft by a sunk key. The other half of the clutch is movable and it is free to slide axially on the driven shaft, but it is prevented from turning relatively to its shaft by means of feather key. A square jaw type is used where engagement and disengagement in motion and under load is not necessary. This type of clutch will transmit power in either direction of rotation. The spiral jaws may be left-hand or right-hand, because power transmitted by them is in one direction only. This type of clutch is occasionally used where the clutch must be engaged and disengaged while in motion. The use of jaw clutches are frequently applied to sprocket wheels, gears and pulleys. In such a case, the non-sliding part is made integral with the hub.
A friction clutch has its principal application in the transmission of power of shafts and machines which must be started and stopped frequently. Its application is also found in cases in which power is to be delivered to machines partially or fully loaded. The force of friction is used to start the driven shaft from rest and gradually brings it up to the proper speed without excessive slipping of the friction surfaces. In automobiles, friction clutch is used to connect the engine to the drive shaft. In operating such a clutch, care should be taken so that the friction surfaces engage easily and gradually bring the driven shaft up to proper speed. The proper alignment of the bearing must be maintained and it should be located as close to the clutch as possible. It may be noted that :
1. The contact surfaces should develop a frictional force that may pick up and hold the load with reasonably low pressure between the contact surfaces.
2. The heat of friction should be rapidly
3. The surfaces should be backed by a material stiff enough to ensure a reasonably uniform distribution of pressure.