How to Calculate Tension in a Drive Belt

Written by james wiley
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Calculating the total tension, or effective tension (TE), of a drive belt relies on several different variables which must be measured accurately. Before beginning calculations, you must measure the length of the belt, and match the length with the CW factor of the belt (the weight of belt components). A table for the CW numbers should be in the instruction manual, otherwise call the manufacturer. In addition, you will need to know the belt speed (in fpm) and the difference in height between the terminal pulleys.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Calculator

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  1. 1

    Multiply .35 (normal friction factor), the belt length in feet, and the CW factor of the belt based on its length together. Once you have multiplied these three numbers together you will now have the TC number of the belt, which is the total tension needed to move the empty belt. (0.35 x belt length x CW factor).

  2. 2

    Multiply .4 (normal friction factor for moving horizontally), the belt length, and the material weight together. The material weight is found by dividing 33.3 by the belt speed. Multiplying these three numbers together will give you the TL number, or tension required to move the load horizontally. (0.4 x belt length x material weight).

  3. 3

    Multiply the difference in height between the pulleys by the material weight. This will give you the TH number, or the tension required to lift the load.

  4. 4

    Add the TL, TH, and TC numbers together. The resulting number will be the TE, or the effective belt tension of the drive belt.

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