Centrifugal Clutch and Applications

Centrifugal Clutch and Applications

The centrifugal clutch is a type of clutch that can be used in manual transmissions and some automatics. It uses centrifugal force to operate by engaging and disengaging the clutch. It is also known as an automatic transmission brake because it is activated automatically whenever the shaft speed exceeds a specific amount.

A centrifugal clutch is a type of clutch that engages and disengages the driving members by using centrifugal force. While the friction components are placed towards the outside of a cylindrical drum to activate the clutch. The driving parts are organized in a radial pattern and expand outward when engaged.

A centrifugal clutch can be used to allow the vehicle to accelerate without the need for a load. At a set speed, the centrifugal force pushes the elements of the clutch into contact, thereby connecting the load. As the system gets slower, the load is automatically removed.

These clutches work very well for internal combustion engines, which often can’t be started when they are under load.

Centrifugal Force in Centrifugal Clutches

The centrifugal force is the outward force that a body in a rotating reference frame exerts on its environment. A centrifugal clutch is required to engage the load when the driving member has reached a certain speed. And it is proportional to both the object’s mass (m), the square of angular velocity (), and distance from the axis of rotation (r).

F = mr2

There are three ways to increase centrifugal force

  1. Increasing the speed of rotation
  2. Increasing the body’s mass
  3. Increasing the radius.

It is the effect of a fast-moving item being driven to follow a curved route. The centrifugal force can occur when you turn your vehicle while driving around a curve or when you tie a stone to a thread and begin rotating it. Furthermore, you can experience a centrifugal force in a merry-go-round.

Note: Centrifugal force is a scientific concept often debated in physics classrooms, with some saying that it doesn’t exist. However, it should not be a concern to engineers as long as the concept works.


  • Centrifugal clutches are used in a variety of applications and devices. And it is often used for automated operations. Go-carts, lawn mowers, chain saws, and various other vehicles and tools often come equipped with them.
  • If there is no spring, the torque transferred is proportional to the square of the speed. Springs are used to preventing engagement until a certain motor speed is attained.
  • Centrifugal clutches are enabled the driver of a small motorcycle to go away from a halt without having to worry about engaging or detaching it at a gradual stop.
  • Centrifugal clutches are also used in chain saws. So, they can also be used to act as an overload release mechanism that slides to allow the engine to continue to run even if the chain gets stuck within the timber.