The Beauty of the Constant Velocity Joint

Constant-velocity joints (aka homokinetic or CV joints) allow a rotating shaft to transmit power through a variable angle, at constant rotational speed, without an appreciable increase in friction or play. They are mainly used in front wheel drive and all wheel drive cars. Rear wheel drive cars with independent rear suspensiontypically use CV joints at the ends of the rear axle halfshafts, and increasingly use them on the propshafts. Audi Quattros use them for all four half-axles and on the front-to-rear driveshaft (propeller shaft) as well, for a total of ten CV joints. Early front wheel drive systems such as those used on the Citroën Traction Avant and the front axles of Land Rover and similar four wheel drive vehicles useduniversal joints, where a cross-shaped metal pivot sits between two forked carriers. These are not CV joints as, except for specific configurations, they result in a variation of the transmitted speed. They are simple to make and can be tremendously strong, and are still used to provide a flexible coupling in some propshafts, where there is not very much movement. However, they become “notchy” and difficult to turn when operated at extreme angles, and need regular maintenance. They also need more complicated support bearings when used in drive axles, and could only be used in rigid axle designs.

via Wikipedia

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