In the industrial world, drive belts are some of the most common systems used to link at least two rotating shafts together, transmitting power from a drive to a driven shaft. Of the many different kinds of drive belts available, triangular belts (also known as wedge belts) are the preferred choice for power transmission, providing the best combination of traction, speed, load bearing, and service life. So, what sets the V-belt apart from the rest?
Since the industrial revolution, belt drive designs have had to continually adapt to the demands of more powerful machinery and expanding industrial markets. The creation of the V-belt was an instant game-changer, solving the slippage and alignment issues of previous belt designs. The main difference of the V-belt is its shape, which resembles a trapezoid or ‘V’ shape – hence its more common name.
Apart from being easy to install, V-belts require no lubrication and are designed to dampen shock load. Their unique shape makes it impossible for the belt to slip off once correctly installed and they tend to wedge tighter into grooves as the load increases. The greater the load, the more effective the V-belt becomes at improving torque transmission.
V-belts are usually made from rubber or polymer, neoprene and urethane synthetic materials. They also often contain fibre chords to reinforce and strengthen the belt. These chords can be made from cotton, polyester, or in some cases, even steel or fibreglass. The added fibres also help to minimize stretch, which in turn reduces friction and a build-up of heat, extending the life of the belt.
For high-power applications, it’s common to see two or more V-belts joined to operate alongside each other. This arrangement is known as a hexagonal belts drive or classical V-belt drive. You’ll find V-belt designs on all kinds of engines and devices – they really are incredibly effective and useful.
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