Differential - Types, Working, Construction and Images


In this article, we see What is the function of a differential? And Why is a differential needed? In the previous section, we see the Universal joint, and there functions. Now we look What is differential and its types? And Do all vehicles have a differential?

READ - What Is Universal Joint? and Types of Universal Joint


The differential allows each rear wheel to rotate at different speeds. During cornering but at the same time, it delivers equal torque to each wheel when both wheels have the same traction. A system of gears in the differential arranged in such a way that it connects the propeller shaft to the rear axle. The difference in a word intends to provide relative movement Rear wheels.


The differential is necessary to keep both the rear wheels at the same speed in straight travel and to make the outer rear wheel to rotate faster. Then the inner one during a turn—construction and working of the differential unit.



The Two suns and two planetary gears arrange in a cage as a unit like a solar system. The cage unit fix to the ring gear of the final drive—the two sun gears connected to the two haft axles.



When the propeller shaft rotates, the pinion drives the ring gear and hence, the differential cage. When the differential cage rotates, the differential planetary gear also rotates because they mesh with the drive pinion. Rotational speeds of the two planetary gears are equal, and hence the wheels turn at the same rate. It happens when the vehicle is going straight path. Therefore there is no relative motion between differential pinion gears and the planetary gears.

When the vehicle takes to turn the inner rear wheel must turn slower than the outer rear wheel. Since the drive pinion is driving the differential cage, the differential pinion gears rotate on their shafts. It results in one planet gear axle shaft and wheel to turn faster than the other. These pinion gears thus accelerate one axle shaft and retard the other axle shaft by the same amount.


The rear wheels receive equal torque when they are rotating at different speeds. Due to this reason, if one the bike is on a slippery surface, mud, loose dirt, the wheel on the solid, the ground will not drive. While the other spins around idle due to the differential action. One bike suffers less resistance and turns faster, causing a loss of friction.

Therefore there must be the same arrangement by which more torque can transmit to one wheel which is gripping the road than the other bike which is slipping on the way. These is done by the introduction of friction intentionally in the differential. A related method of avoiding the slipping wheel problem is to provide a differential lock. Whenever lock is applied, the differential action stopped, and the full torque then applied to the wheel which is gripping the road.


It has two clutches, one on each side to lock the side gears, and axles to the differential cage when action not desires. The differential clutch has a gear ring and two clutch discs splined to the axle shaft., and three clutch plates connected to the differential housing by lugs.


The plate far from the side gear ring meshes to form a bell value spring. A mechanism to apply the clutch also provides in the differential. The differential pinion gear mounted on two cross shafts at a right angle to each other. When the differential cage driven by the rear axle gears, the turning resistance causes the cross shaft to move up the ramp and push the rod apart.

This action forces the pinion on each shaft to bear against the side gear rings to apply the clutch. The clutch locks both axle shafts to the cage and force them to turn at the same speed. Thus no differential action. When the vehicle takes a turn, the clutch release automatically, and the differential acts again in its usual manner.

READ MORE - Gearbox - What is Gearbox and Types of Gearbox

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