Types of Friction Drive Belts

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Types of Friction Drive Belts
Drive belts transmit power through the belt's adherence to a pulley. (timing belt image by Albert Lozano from Fotolia.com)

Friction drive belt systems transmit power through the belt's adherence to a pulley. They are used as an economical option in industrial, automotive and commercial applications. They are very easy to install and require no lubrication. There are different types of friction drive belts available.

V-Belt Drive

This belt is called a V or vee belt because its cross section is V-shaped. These belts are usually found on older vehicles. Replacing V-belts is inexpensive and should be replaced every three years or 36,000 miles, since they are prone to experience failure. There are two types of V-belts, the cogged V-belt and the standard V-belt. The cogged V-belt has tapered sides which fit around a pulley or gear with matching grooves or teeth, typically used in high load applications. V-belt grooves provide a firmer grip on the pulleys or gears, thus preventing slips and prolonging the belt's life. The standard V-belt drives are not as wide as the cogged V-belt. Standard V-belt drives are ideal for light load applications, since such loads don't require the precise turning of gears.

Wedge Belt Drive

A wedge belt drive can deliver up to 25,000 hours of service. Depending on its usage, it can last approximately three to five years. The wedge belt has a power transmission efficiency of more than 95 per cent and is a direct derivative of the V-belt. However, it has a deeper trapezoidal cross section in comparison to a V-belt of similar top width. This design provides greater power transmission capability.

Timing Belt

The timing belt drive appears in some engines with overhead camshafts. Timing belt drives are the choice of car manufacturers as they make less noise and cost less to manufacture than chains. Read your vehicle's manual to find the recommended mileage for replacing your timing belt. Recommended mileage ranges from 60,000 to 105,000. The timing belt works by turning the camshaft at exactly half the speed of the crankshaft. This is all done while maintaining a precise alignment.

Flat Belt Drive

There are two types of flat belts. These include small woven endless belts and higher power flat belts. The small woven endless belt is used where minimum vibration is required by the pulley when driving. On the other hand, the higher power flat belt has longitudinal grooves in the belt surface. These grooves reduce the air cushion that the flat belt generates while running onto a pulley.

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