Single Plate Clutch: Definition, Parts, Working Principle, Applications Advantages, and Disadvantages [PDF]

What is Single Plate Clutch?

A Single Plate Clutch is defined as a type of friction clutch, which is made of a single clutch plate. The amount of frictional force that generates within the clutch plate is due to the contact that takes place between the friction lining which is mounted on the clutch plate. Also, the prior component regarding the mechanism of a clutch plate is the flywheel, which is fixed on the crankshaft of an engine. Apart from that, the flywheel rotates with respect to the rotation of the shaft. Every clutch plate’s basic working principle depends upon the frictional force that arises within the clutch plate.

basic principle of single plate clutch

The main reason behind the frictional force is the friction lining, which plays a significant role in regards to the same. The friction lining can be mounted by the manufacturer on both sides of the plate. Apart from that, a single plate clutch can also be termed as a dry clutch due to which any sort of lubricant is not needed for the seamless functioning of the clutch. The coefficient of friction occurs due to the contact between friction lining, which is very high in the case of a single-plate clutch.

Parts of a Single Plate Clutch:

A clutch is made of several components like pressure plate, flywheel, disk plate, friction lining, and the spring. Following are the main components of a single plate clutch discussed in detail:


The prior part that can be utilized by a manufacturer in order to develop a clutch is the flywheel. The flywheel is the heaviest part among all the parts that is incorporated within a clutch. In regards to this, the flywheel is attached with the crankshaft and another side of the flywheel makes contact with the grasp-plate. The flywheel is the part that decides the amount of time that should be taken by the entire mechanism, for engagement and disengagement. Due to the contact with the grasping plate, a high amount of torque oftentimes arises due to which the engagement takes place within the vehicle.

Pressure Plate:

The main part that controls frictional force is the Pressure plate. The pressure plate is usually attached to the plate of solid metal. It takes the help of weight to maintain contact. In this regard, the pressure plate uses springs, which are joined with the pressure plate to put the proper amount of weight. Moreover, the pressure plate controls the contact between the frictional surfaces of the grasp- plate and the flywheel to maintain the amount of frictional force.

Friction Lining:

It is the main part of contact from which the frictional force produces. Friction lining is attached to the grasp-plate on both the sides. Along with that, friction lining creates contact with the flywheel and thus creates a frictional force at the time of rotation. With the help of this force, the torque is produced. The frictional lining can also be termed as Frictional Surface. Apart from that, the frictional lining is made of some special type of metal which has high coefficient in nature and never slips.

Clutch Plate:

The clutch plate is the most important part of a clutch. The clutch plate is made of a thin plate of metals. It consists of frictional lining on both sides of it. Moreover, the clutch plate fully depends on the working principle of the friction lining. The clutch plate only rotates and the attached friction surface can be used to build the friction with the flywheel to produce friction, as well as torque. A clutch plate is also known as Clutch Disk.


Springs are connected with the pressure plate with the help of the bolts. These springs usually help the clutch plate to make contact with the flywheel to produce friction and as well as torque. Moreover, the pressure plate puts weight on the springs that are attached to the pressure plate. Then the springs allow the flywheel to move forward or backward from the clutch plate’s Frictional Surface to maintain the amount of force that is created by the friction. So high coefficient friction is also maintained and the proper amount of torque is produced. Apart from that, these springs cannot be slipped.

Thrust Ball Bearing:

The thrust ball bearing is the main part that helps in the rotation of the clutch plate and the flywheel. It is usually made of some small bearing balls in a circular ring. It can be used in low thrust. Moreover, it helps to produce the rotation between two parts to maintain the low axial loads as low thrust is used.

components of single plate clutch

Working Principle of Single Plate Clutch:

The entire working principle of a Single plate clutch depends upon disengagement and engagement.

single plate clutch working diagram


  • At first, the clutch plate is placed in its proper position, between the flywheel and the pressure plate.
  • The three main parts start to rotate with the help of thrust ball bearings.
  • The springs are connected with the pressure plate. The pressure plate puts the weight on the springs according to the necessity.
  • Springs can control the contact of the friction lining of the clutch plate and the flywheel.
  • The friction surface or friction lining turns to rotate with the contact of the flywheel and thus friction can be produced.
  • The clutch becomes engaged.
  • The clutch plate is attached to the clutch shaft which is in contact with the gear-box of a vehicle.
  • Hence, the power transfers to the gearbox from the shaft.


  • At first, the pressure plates remove its contact pressure from the springs. As a result, the springs moves backward from the clutch plate.
  • The flywheel also comes back from the clutch plate.
  • Hence, the clutch plate becomes free from the pressure plate and the flywheel.
  • The friction surfaces are now not in contact with the flywheel and pressure plate.
  • In this regard, the clutch shaft reduces its speed of rotation as the weight reduced.
  • At last, the rotation of the clutch shaft is stopped.
  • Therefore, the clutch is disengaged.

Applications of Single Plate Clutch:

Single Plate Clutches are used in various filed like:

  • In the automotive industry, a single plate clutch is used by most of the vehicles around the globe. Due to the large radial shape of the single-plate clutch, it is mostly used in large vehicles as such as buses, cars, trucks.
  • This type of clutch does not require any lubricant for cooling. But, behind this, another reason is present. Due to the large size of a single plate clutch amount of heat dissipation takes place significantly. Therefore, oil or lubricant is not needed to cool the plate.
  • Due to the high coefficient of friction, most of the vehicles use a single plate clutch. The amount of the coefficient of friction is more than 0.3. 
  • Apart from that, the amount of torque generation is also very high as compared to a wet clutch due to which this type of clutch can mostly be used in a big vehicle.
  • But, in regards to the application of a single plate clutch, the user has to prevent the contamination. Also, the moisture that is present within the plate should be prevented by the user through sealing the ports. 

Advantages of Single Plate Clutch:

There are many advantages of a single-plate clutch. Some of the advantages of the single-plate clutch are stated below:

  • The heat can be generated by the clutch due to the frictional force that damages the other parts which help in the process of power transmission.
  • As the single plate clutch creates less heat so no coolant medium is needed for cooling the system. So, this clutch can also be termed as the dry clutch. No extra charge for the coolant is required.
  • In the case of the single-plate clutch, the torque requirement is less as it can perform at a certain range. In order to this limitation, if the input force exceeds the required torque, then the slippage takes place between the contact surface and plate of the clutch. Due to this incident, the single plate clutch performs like a safety mechanism that safeguards the other parts from being damaged.
  • The performance of engagement and disengagement of the plate is smooth. So the single plate clutch can perform its work smoothly.
  • As the torque is low, the loss of power is also less. Due to, less power loss, it is safe for the engines to perform the work smoothly.

Disadvantages of Single Plate Clutch:

There are some disadvantages of a single-plate clutch. Some of the disadvantages of the single-plate clutch are stated below:

  • The single-plate clutch needs no cooling medium. So, this clutch is dry. Due to this dryness, high maintenance is also required. Due to the dryness, the moisture damages the clutch. If any leakage occurs, then the moisture damages the clutch plate. So, the lubricating oil is required to prevent the damage from moisture.
  • The diameter of the single-plate clutch is bigger in shape and size. It is also bigger in regard to the transmission of low torque that can be created by the single-plate clutch.
  • The single-plate clutch has less capability of transmission of torque.  The capacity of low torque is also one of the major disadvantages of the single-plate clutch.


Clutch Overview
Centrifugal 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
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