Power transmission by means of an endless chain running around chain wheels or sprocket wheels.
Examples of uses:
- Transmit power between pedals and rear wheel on a bicycle - probably the most common use.
- Transmit power from engine to rear wheel on a motorbike.
- Provide speed ratio change, transmit power and phase lock between crankshaft and camshafts on an internal combustion engine.
Compared to a toothed belt drive there are a number of tradeoffs and in some cases the choice is just down to being more familiar with the design and application of one over the other. Some of these tradeoffs are listed below:
- Longer life - chain links do not wear as fast as the teeth on drive belts.
- Stronger - well made chains tend to be stronger and so able to transmit more power.
- Compact - for a given power chains tend to be narrower.
- Gear change - as chains are narrower it is easier to vary the gear ratio by moving chain to a different sprocket.
- Heavier - chain drives are normally heavier as they are normally metal and toothed belt drives are rubber/plastic.
- Losses - as they are heavier more power is lost in driving the chain.
Subjects: Mechanical Engineering
- The Complete Guide to Chain A comprehensive reference for chains used in power transmission and conveyance applications.