Basics of power transmission chain

A chain is a reliable machine component that transmits power by tensile force. Chains may be classified in many ways. From one viewpoint, chain is a continuous, flexible rack engaging a pair of gears. Another viewpoint terms chain a mechanical belt, running over wheels, which can be used to transmit power.

07/01/2005



A chain is a reliable machine component that transmits power by tensile force. Chains may be classified in many ways. From one viewpoint, chain is a continuous, flexible rack engaging a pair of gears. Another viewpoint terms chain a mechanical belt, running over wheels, which can be used to transmit power. Chain is basically a set of pins, rollers, bushings, and connecting links (Fig. 1).

Power transmission chain competes with V-belts, synchronous belts, and gear drives. Each has properties that enable them to carve out a niche all their own. However, there are applications where it can be an either/or situation.

Features of chain drives:

Advantages

  • Speed reduction/increase of up to 7:1 can be easily accommodated.

  • Can handle long shaft center distances.

  • It is possible to use chain with multiple shafts or drives and both sides of the chain.

  • Standardization of chains allows ease of selection.

  • It is easy to cut and connect chains.

  • Chain sprockets can be smaller than belt pulleys and transmit the same torque.

  • Sprockets wear less than gears because the load is distributed over many teeth.

  • Chain is more suitable for long-term, continuous power transmission with limited torque fluctuation.