Multi-Plate Clutch: Definition, Components or Parts, Working Principle, Advantages, and Application [PDF]


One of the most useful clutches is Multi-plate Clutch among all the other clutches. It is usually made by multiple plates hence it is also known as a multi-plate clutch.

Multiplate Clutch sectinal view

Definition of Multi-Plate Clutch:

The multi-plate clutch is a special type of clutch that can produce high torque. It mainly transmits the power from one shaft to another shaft. One of them is the engine shaft and another one is the transmission shaft. Friction takes place in the engine by the clutch plates. This friction makes high torque. Moreover, it can be said that in the automobiles or in pieces of machinery, where high torque is needed like in the gearbox of motorcycles, this multi-plate clutch can be used to assure the precision level of that machine. The high amount of torque can be generated by the multi-plate clutch due to the number of plates. Therefore, it can be asserted that if the numbers of plates are increased by the manufacturer then it is possible to increase the amount of torque generation.

Multi-Plate Clutch Components or Parts:

The Multi plate clutch is made of different types of components. They are as follows:

  • Flywheel
  • Pressure Plate
  • Friction Disc
  • Clutch Paddle
  • Friction Lining
  • Thrust Spring
  • Inner Splined Sleeves
  • Diaphragm Spring
Multiplate Clutch Parts Diagram


A flywheel is a very useful part of the engine. It is situated beside the clutch. Therefore, when the flywheel and clutch make contact with each other friction is generated through the same. In regards to the same, this friction produces high power. Hence, the flywheel transmits the generated power from one shaft to another shaft.

Pressure Plate:

It is another prior component of the multi-plate clutch. Although, not only it is used in the multi-plate clutch but also each and every type of clutches are made of the pressure plate.

The overall mechanism of the clutches pressure plate plays a significant role in its operation. It can be used to make friction in the contact of the clutch plate. The pressure plate is attached with splined sleeves and the pedals respectively.

In this regard, when the pedals are pressed, it makes contact with the pressure plates. Hence, the pressure plate changes its place from backward to forward or vice versa. Moreover, it can be said that the pressure plate is placed to maintain the friction of the clutch.

Friction Disc:

Friction disc is the main cause behind the generation of the frictional force. It can be attached to a pressure plate. According to this, when the pedals are pressed, the pedals make contact with the pressure plates, moreover with the friction discs. Hence, friction discs produce a frictional force.

Clutch Paddle:

The clutch plate is the most important part of this entire mechanism. It creates contact between the different parts like flywheel and pressure plate respectively. Apart from that, it is mainly utilized to control the engagement as well as the disengagement of the clutches.

Thus, the inner portion creates contact with the flywheel and the outer portion creates contact with the pressure plate. Regarding this, clutch plates have friction lines at the end of the outside parts. Along with that, usually, that part is mainly used to create contact with the pressure plate and thus, produces friction.

Hence, the power reaches between two shafts, those are engine shaft and transmission shaft. In the case of the multi-plate clutch, due to the presence of more than one clutch plate, more friction can also be produced.

Friction Lines:

The friction line is the main part for producing the frictional force in the engine. It is mainly attached to the end of the outside of the clutch plate. Hence, it can be used to connect to the pressure plate, to produce friction.

Thrust Spring:

Thrust spring is mainly attached to the outer side of the pressure plate. It helps to maintain the contact between two plates, those are the clutch plate and the pressure plate. Apart from that, these springs can be moved by the clutch pedals. Hence, the clutches gets disengaged.

Inner Splined Sleeves:

The inner splined sleeve is attached to the pressure plate. After that, the pedals of the clutch are pressed. Thus, the pressure plate, as well as the inner splined sleeves, tends to move forward and backward. As a result of this, inner splined sleeves can disengage or engage the clutch.

Diaphragm Spring:

Diaphragm spring is also a very important type of spring in this type of clutch. It takes the place of the thrust spring, in this type of clutch. Apart from that, this spring is circular and has so many fins or fingers. Thus, it looks like the diaphragm. Hence, its name is Diaphragm Spring. Its uses are almost as same as thrust spring. Moreover, it maintains the friction force.

Types of Multi-Plate Clutch:

There are 3 types of Multi Plate Clutch:

  • Spring Type Multi-Plate Clutch,
  • Hydraulic or Automatic Multi-plate Clutch and
  • Diaphragm Multi-plate Clutch

Spring Type Multi-Plate Clutch:

The main parts of the Spring type Multi-plate clutch are clutch plates, pressure plates, clutch pedals, friction lines, thrust spring, inner splined sleeves, flywheel, and friction discs.

Diaphragm Multi-plate Clutch:

The Diaphragm Multi-Plate Clutch is made of the same parts as of the Spring type Multi-plate Clutch, excluding the thrust spring. In this case, the diaphragm spring is used in the place of thrust spring.

Hydraulic or Automatic Multi-plate Clutch :

The Hydraulic Multi-plate Clutch is also as same as Diaphragm Clutch but it has some differences in its operational part.

Working principle of Multi-Plate Clutch:

To discuss the working principle of the multi-plate clutch, it can be said at first that it has two types of working procedures. One is the engaging procedure and the other is the disengaging procedure. Regarding this, here the two types are discussed below:


  • Engagement takes place in the engine when the driver pressed the clutch paddle.
  • Apart from that, it enhances the movements of the thrust springs.
  • The pressure can be given to the pressure plates with the help of thrust springs.
  • Hence, the pressure plate tends to move forward.
  • Along with that, the friction linings that are attached on the inner side of the pressure plate to make contact with the flywheel, start its action.
  • As a result, the clutch engages.


  • For disengaging the clutch and the engine of the vehicle, the driver has to press the clutch pedals as well as the fins of inner splined sleeves at first.
  • It enhances the thrust spring to move backward.
  • This thrust spring releases pressure from the pressure plates.
  • Hence, the pressure plate tends to move backward.
  • As a result of removing the pressure from the flywheel, pressure plate and springs the clutch becomes disengaged.
Multi-plate clutch side view

A video on how a Multi-plate Clutch works:

Credits : Thomas Schwenke

Advantages of Multi-Plate Clutch:

There are many advantages of the Multi Plate clutch. Some of the advantages are stated below:

  • As the multi-plate clutches are made of more clutch plates so the capacity of transmission of torque is quite high.
  • This type of clutch is small in size. Due to its compact size, the multi-plate clutch is suitable for any sort of vehicles around the globe. As the motorcycles and scooters have limited space, so the multi-plate clutch can be fitted easily because of its compact size.
  • In comparison with the single-plate clutch, the diameter of the multi-plate clutch is smaller. Due to this feature, the multi-plate clutch can be used in many sports such as racing and others. 
  • The multi-plate clutches have many friction surfaces. As the transmission of torque depends on the number of friction surfaces, so in the case of the multi-plate clutch, torque becomes higher in the single-plate clutch. 
  • Due to the advantage of higher torque rate, in the case of heavy vehicles which are mainly used for commercial purpose, the multi-plate clutches can easily be preferred. 
  • In comparison to a single-plate clutch, the multi-plate clutch helps the engine to perform with better acceleration.
  • There is a force required to press the clutch pedal to make the clutch operational. To operate a multi-plate clutch, less pedal effort is required.

Disadvantages of Multi-Plate Clutch:

There are some disadvantages too. Some of the disadvantages are stated below:

  • The weight of the multi-plate clutch is heavy so it is not suitable for all-time use. 
  • The cost of the multi-plate clutch along with its maintenances is very expensive. So, it is not good for the users of the multi-plate clutch, with a low budget.
  • As the number of frictional surfaces is more than the single-plate clutch, so more heat can also be generated. Due to more heat, the engine gets heated quickly. In this case, a cooling medium is required for the multi-plate clutch. So, for the cooling medium, users have to spend extra money. Due to this drawback, the maintenance cost becomes high automatic.

Application of Multi-Plate Clutch:

The application of Multi-Plate clutch are stated below:

  • It can be used in the pieces of machinery and automobiles where high power is required.
  • It can be used in the motorcycle or high-speed racing cars due to the compact gearbox and high torque production.
  • It can be used in ships, trucks, locomotive engines due to compact gearbox design.
  • It is appropriate for heavyweight types of machinery like bulldozers, excavators, tanks and crawlers and others as the multi-plate clutch is heavy and produces high power.


Clutch Overview
Centrifugal Clutch
Single Plate Clutch
Hydraulic Clutch

References [External Links]:

Media Credits:

  • All the images used in this paper are made by under Creative Common License [Attribution Needed].
  • Feature Image: Designed by the author
  • Video by: Thomas Schwenke
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