The Miracle of the Car – Part Three – Transmission – boring? No way!
1. When your car accelerates from 0 to 60 mph, your wheels turn from zero to 1000 revolutions per minute, but your engines crankshaft operates in a range of 800 to 6000 rpm. Gearing is necessary to coordinate them. This is the job of the transmission.
2. Gears trade torque for rotational speed the way a lever trades force for distance.
3. Flywheels are the part of the transmission that smoothes out the jerky pulses of the engine.
4. The clutch disengages the engine from the transmission when the car is still or gears are being changed.
5. In a front engine rear-wheel drive car the driveshaft connects the gearbox in the front to the differential in the back. The latter divides the force in half passing it on to each of the wheels, then increases the gear ratio by a factor of 4, and allows the two wheels to spin at different rates to negotiate a turn.
6. Driveshafts are hollow because paradoxically a hollow tube is stronger than a solid tube in bending and torsion.
7. Universal joints give drive shafts the necessary flexibility.
8. Other amazing parts of the transmission system are the dog clutch, the lay shaft, and the syncromesh which I will leave to others to explain the marvels of.
YOUR TURN– THE TRANSMISSION CHALLENGE: poets, musicians: please turn this amazing story into a sonnet, rap, ballad!