Internal combustion engine flywheel: structure, purpose, principle of operation

The flywheel is an important part of the car engine, which is designed to perform such complex tasks as:

Carrying out the timely start of the car engine, by transferring the rotational motion from the starter to the crankshaft.

Providing torque from the vehicle engine to the transmission (gearbox).

Reducing vibration noise of the engine (reduction of uneven movement of the shaft). If the flywheel failed because of an accident, and with it and other major components of the car, it is probably easier and more profitable to dispose of the car for scrap:

Engine flywheel principle of operation

The flywheel is mounted on the end of the crankshaft, directly at the rear main bearing. The main bearing not only keeps the flywheel in one position but also reduces the operating loads.

The principle of the flywheel itself is to reduce vibration during crankshaft torque. When the engine is running intensively, energy is stored in the drive cycle and transferred to the crankshaft. In the other strokes, the opposite process – a release of energy – occurs.

The flywheel stores energy to keep the crankshaft moving evenly from one measure to the next.

How the flywheel works and its main types

As previously mentioned, the flywheel is an important part of a car engine, a relatively small but very weighty disc, the diameter of which can be 30-40 cm. The end of the flywheel has serrated edges, which allows it to connect to the starter shaft to transfer rotational energy to the engine crankshaft.

Flywheel Types

Engine flywheels can be dual-mass, solid and lightweight in type of construction. The most common and widely used is the solid flywheel. We will look at each of these types.

Dual-mass flywheel (damper flywheel)

This is a commonly used type of flywheel in a modern car engine. A dual-mass flywheel is a device consisting of two discs connected by a special spring-damping device. The main elements of the dual-mass flywheel are the flywheel, the bearing, the arc spring with outer dampers, the compression spring with inner dampers and the drive plate.

Such a device performs a number of important functions and tasks:

takes over all excessive crankshaft vibrations;

protects the transmission from excessive rotational motion and overload

reduces possible wear of synchronizing elements;

ensures smooth gear shifting;

saves fuel consumption in the engine.

However, excessively intensive operation of this type of flywheel can eventually lead to rapid wear of the spring and damper mechanism or failure of its individual elements, such as the spring.

Solid flywheel

This type of flywheel is more efficient for use in modern car engines. A solid flywheel is a heavy-weight cast-iron disc with a diameter of 35-40 cm. On the outer surface of the flywheel is a steel girth with teeth, which ensures the movement of the crankshaft when starting the starter. One side of the flywheel has a hub that connects the flywheel to the crankshaft flange, the opposite side acts as a clutch disc.

Lightweight flywheel

This type of flywheel is often used for car engine tuning. A lightweight flywheel is a disc on which a preheated cogwheel is put, and after it cools down, the flywheel takes on the appearance of a gear.

The lightweight flywheel has a small mass, on average one and a half times less than that of a conventional flywheel. The lightweight flywheel allows the car engine to reach the maximum operating revolutions, increase power by 5-7%, and improve the car’s acceleration dynamics.

Lightweight flywheel is made of wear-resistant metal, which can withstand excessive loads during engine operation, while working quickly, quietly and efficiently.

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