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Gearbox Report By: Nader Raafat

Purpose of Gearbox: Every engine has a redline (a maximum rpm value that it cannot exceed without exploding), and narrow ranges (or bands) where horsepower output and torque are at their maximum. Therefore it is essential that the engine keeps operating in the rpm band of best performance, while staying below the redline. Consequently, cars need transmissions (or gearboxes) to Figure 1- Sample graph showing peak torque adjust the rpm output of the engine to be used for the car and peak horsepower at different rpms wheels. This is because the optimal engine rpm output of best performance would be impossible/impractical to use on the wheels, due to the fact that it is too high. For example, a high rpm output would pose obvious problems when the car is still starting to move or is slowing down. Therefore, specific gear ratios are used to adjust this to the required output. Gear Ratios: Gears are used in all sorts of devices, from clocks to cars. They are generally used for one or more of the following reasons: To reverse the direction of rotation To increase or decrease the speed of rotation (in terms of rpm) To shift rotational motion to a different axis To keep two rotating axes synchronized

In car gearboxes, the main effects used are the change in speed and direction of rotation. Changing the speed of rotation is done by using different sized gears. This is because the circumference will be different, and as a result the distance travelled in each rotation will be different. Equation for circumference of a circle: According to the above equation, the circumference of a circle will change in the same ratio as the diameter, seeing as Pi is constant. This means that if Circle A has half the diameter of Circle B it will have half the circumference also. This ratio of diameters (and circumferences), or more conveniently, the number of teeth, can be used with gears to change rpm. For example, if we want to double the rpm of Gear X, we connect it to Gear Y, which has half the diameter (i.e. the gear ratio is

Figure 2- Gear X and Gear Y

2:1). Because Gear Y has half the circumference, it will need to complete two rotations to cover the same distance covered by Gear X in one rotation, as shown in Figure 2. This is the same principle used in gearboxes to adjust rpm output from the engine. Basic Transmission Mechanism:

Figure 3- Basic two-speed transmission system in neutral

The green shaft and gear (single unit) are connected to the engine via the clutch, and turn at the same rpm as the engine. When the clutch pedal is pressed, the clutch is disengaged, which disconnects the green shaft and gear from the engine, which allows the engine to continue running even while the car is still, and is also necessary for shifting gears, as discussed below. The red shaft and gears (layshaft) are also a single unit, and therefore they all have the same rpm. The layshaft is directly connected to the green gear from the engine, which means that the green gear, layshaft and engine are all moving at the same rpm when the clutch is engaged. The yellow shaft is connected to the differential, which is in turn connected to the wheels, and is the shaft responsible for the rotation of the wheels. In other words, the wheels will spin if the yellow shaft is spanning, and vice versa (yellow shaft will spin if wheels are spinning, even if engine is off, for example while coasting). The blue gears arent directly connected to the yellow shaft; instead they ride on bearings, which allow the yellow shaft to turn without turning the blue gears and layshaft (as in our coasting example). This fact is also of utmost importance because it allows one gear to connect to the yellow shaft while the other freewheels on bearings, through the action of the collar.

The collar is directly connected to the yellow shaft, and spins with it. It can also slide along the yellow shaft. Therefore it is used to connect one of the blue gears to the yellow shaft by fitting the dog teeth on the collar into their places on the blue gear (that is why the clutch needs to be disengaged during gear shifts, so that the pressure is lifted from the dog teeth so that they can be freed from the blue gear and move). When the collar is moved Figure 4- Collar with dog teeth to a gear, as shown in Figure 5, the blue gear becomes connected to the yellow shaft via the collar, and transmits its rotational movement to the yellow shaft and consequently the wheels. The other blue gear continues to spin at a different speed due to its gear ratio with the layshaft, but it has no effect on the yellow shaft because it is freewheeling (it is not connected to the yellow shaft) When the gear shift is unsuccessful, a grinding noise is heard
Figure 5- Collar moved to first gear

because of the dog teeth not fitting together correctly, which is common in an unsynchronized system, like those shown above. Synchronised transmission systems will be discussed below.

A Real 5-Speed Transmission:

Figure 6- A 5-speed + reverse transmission system common in most cars

The system shown above is very similar to what gearboxes actually look like in cars, and use the same mechanisms and principles aforementioned, albeit on a more complex level. An interesting observation is that for reverse, a third gear is present between the layshaft and blue gears, the idler gear, which is used to reverse the direction of rotation, to move the car backwards rather than forwards. Synchronised Transmission: Synchronisers are used to allow the collar and blue gear to be rotating at (roughly) the same speed before the dog teeth lock into place, to prevent the grinding noise explained above. To achieve this, the two gears make frictional contact with each other to synchronise them, before the dog teeth move in, as shown in Figure 8. The cone shape on the gear fits into the coneshaped gap in the collar, and the friction between them synchronises their rotation.
Figure 7- Synchronizers in action