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How Does A Car Differential Work???!

posted Jul 31, 2017, 7:55 AM by Rohit Bhaskar   [ updated Jul 10, 2018, 12:11 PM by Chirag Trasikar ]

Today’s is going to be particularly helpful for mechanical engineering students…. But useful to everyone in general! So don’t worry. The differential is a device that splits the engine torque two ways, allowing each output to spin at a different speed. What this means is that the 2 wheels of the car can now rotate at different speeds. It’s at this point that most will start wondering….”Why do the 2 wheels of the same car have to rotate at different speeds??” The reason this is needed is in turns. Whenever the car turns, the wheels of the car don’t rotate the same amount. i.e th inner tire and the outer tire have to rotate differently so that the car can turn correctly. The following video explains a differential system perfectly!!

Once you have seen that, i am guessing that probably understand why we need a differential system and also how it works. Now we can move on to different differential systems. The different types of differentials are

  • OSD (Open Slip Differential)
  • LSD (Limited Slip Differential)
  • Locking Differential
  • Auto LSD

The open slip differential is what you saw in the video above. But the disadvantages that come with it are when one wheel has a different traction that the other i.e if one of the tires is slipping. At this time the torque is transmitted to the path of least resistance i.e the tire with lesser traction. This is why a limited slip differential was invented. In a limited slip differential some part of the transmitted torque is always given to the other tire. In a locking differential the wheel with the lesser traction is stopped with an electronically activated brake so that the torque can be then transmitted back to the other tire.

Hand DrillEven a hand drill has a set of gears like an open differential.

Refer the video below for understanding the types of differentials and why they are needed.

Hope it was easy to understand!!