Although it's easy to adopt a "seen one, seen 'em all" mentality toward them, there is a surprising amount of variation in design for the hose clamp. All hose clamps perform the same basic task: to wrap around the end of a hose, clamping it to the engine or an accessory's fluid nipple. Each design is optimised for a particular task, where the priorities might be high-pressure sealing, durability, ease of installation/removal or cost.
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Spring clamps are rings of strong spring metal in the shape of a ring. The two ends of the spring clamp use a set of interlocking tangs to permit movement. Imagine holding the thumb and forefinger of your right hand together as if you were holding a wineglass; now, imagine taking the forefinger of your other hand and squeezing it between the right thumb/forefinger. The tangs on the spring clamp interlock in just this way. Advantages: low cost and ease of installation/removal. Disadvantage is the relatively low clamping force.
Wire clamps are similar to spring clamps in function. Instead of being made from a band, wire clamps are pieces of spring-steel wire that wrap around the hose. Imagine wrapping a piece of string around your finger and you have the idea. The ends of the wire are wrapped backward on themselves to make two D-shaped "ears," which act as squeeze handles to remove the clamp. Advantages: low cost of manufacture, simplicity, can be removed without tools. Disadvantages: low clamping force, the narrow wire doesn't distribute clamping force as well as band-type clamps.
Screw-type clamps come in two varieties: longitudinal and T-type. Longitudinal screw clamps use a screw fixed to one side of the clamp band, which can be wire or flat metal, that threads through a captive nut on the other side of the band. Turning the screw pulls the ends closer together. T-screw clamps use a screw set at a perpendicular angle to the clamp (like the lower leg of a capital "T") to draw the bands against each other. Longitudinal advantages: simplicity, ease of use, high clamping force. Longitudinal disadvantages: high cost compared to similar worm-gear clamp, prone to sticking when exposed to dirt, grease and corrosive environments. T-type advantages: High potential clamping force, can be removed without tools. Disadvantages: narrow range of size adjustment, potentially high cost.
The worm gear is by far the most ubiquitous in use today, and is the one most people think of when they go out to buy a hose clamp. You can think of the worm gear as a longitudinal-screw type that uses the band itself as a screw. The captured screw's threads engage slats punched into the band, which stand in for screw threads. Advantages: fairly low cost, ease of manufacture, corrosion/debris resistance, highly adjustable. Disadvantage: easily stripped if over-torqued.
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