What is a Clutch and How It Works?

A clutch is a device that is used to transmit power from one shaft to another. It connects a shaft on which it is mounted to another shaft which is in motion. Clutches are generally used in the automobile to transmit power from the engine to the driving wheels. It is the clutch through which the change of gears in vehicles possible.

Requirements of a Good Clutch

  • Gradual Engagement:  The clutches should be engaged gradually so that the sudden jerks produced must be avoided.
  • Size: The size of the clutch should be so small, so that it can be fit into minimum space.
  • Torque Transmission:  The clutch should be so designed so that it can able to transfer maximum power through it.
  • Heat Dissipation: It should be so designed so that the maximum dissipation of heat takes place from it.
  • Dynamic Balancing: For high-speed clutches, dynamic balancing is necessary.
  • Provision of Clutch Free Pedal: There should be a clutch free pedal in engaging or disengaging of a clutch.
  • Ease of Operation: Engaging and disengaging of the clutch should not be difficult or tiresome to the operator.
  • Vibration Damping: The clutch should be so designed so that the noise or vibration produced in the transmission can be eliminated easily.

Construction Details

What is Clutch

In our vehicles, the clutch sits in between the engine flywheel and the transmission gearbox. Its main function is to transmit engine power to the wheels. Now a question hits in our mind that how this power transmission takes place. So in order to understand this lets us take a close look at the construction details of the clutch in the vehicle. Look at the diagram above.

Working of Clutch

Let’s understand the working of the clutch in two-phase. The first one in the engaged position when the clutch pedal is not pressed i.e it is released position and second in disengaged position when the clutch pedal is pressed. During the change of gears, the clutch pedal is pressed to disconnect the gearbox from engine Flywheel, otherwise, it will break the gears of the gearbox.

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Engaged Position

Now consider that the engine is running. The clutch is in contact with the rotating flywheel. In this position, the clutch pedal is not pressed, and the clutch is said to be in the engaged position. The power of the engine is transmitted to the flywheel through the transmission Gearbox.

Disengaged Position

Working of Clutch in Disengaged Position

When the vehicle accelerates or decelerates, a change of gears is needed. To change the gears,  the contact of the gearbox is removed from the engine. To achieve this, the clutch pedal is pressed which allows the clutch plate of the clutch to move apart from the flywheel and the power from the engine stops to transfer through the clutch. Now the gear is shifted at this time according to the required speed of the vehicle. After changing the gear, the clutch pedal is released and this engages the clutch with flywheel again and power transmission from the engine to the wheel starts.

The Gearbox in the vehicle is used to get different gear ratio to make the vehicle moves faster or slower according to the situation.

For a Better Understanding about what is a clutch and how it works, Watch the video given below:


In this article, we have learned about what is clutch and how it works in the automobile. If you like this piece of information then don’t forget to like and share it on social networks. If you find anything difficult to understand then feel free to ask us through your valuable comments. We are glad to help you.

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