Equipment Specs

Open Differential

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Mechanical Features and Designs

See also: Differential

The open differential is a type of differential that supplies the same amount of torque to each of the wheels of a vehicle.

Differentials are used on all modern cars and trucks, including AWD and 4WD vehicles. Differentials serve the purpose of enabling the wheels of a vehicle to spin at speeds conducive to turning and changing directions. This usually requires that the wheels on the outside of a turn must spin at a faster speed and travel a further distance to keep up with the inner wheels and to accomplish the turn successfully. The differential is a device consisting of grinding meshes that enable this. It also provides torque or power from the engine to the wheels.[1]

Traction can determine the amount of torque that is supplied for the wheels. The engine can limit the amount of traction needed on hard, dry surfaces that do not require as much. In slippery, wet or unstable surfaces, torque is applied so that traction can be achieved without risking slippage. In circumstances where one wheel has steady traction and another is at risk for slipping, the differential divides the torque between both wheels, reducing the torque for stable wheel to that of the slipping one. This has the disadvantage of reducing revolutions per minute (rpm) to zero.

Another disadvantage of the open differential is if one of the wheels leave the ground it will reduce the torque to zero, which means the wheel on the ground will have zero torque as well.[2]

Other types of differentials include: limited slip differential, Torsen differential, viscous coupling, and locking differential.

[edit] References

  1. Around the Corner. Internet Archive. 2008-09-29.
  2. Differential. Howstuffworks. 2008-09-29.