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What is Single Plate Clutch? Diagram, Parts & Working [PDF]

In this article, you’ll learn what is single plate clutch? Its diagram, parts, working, advantages, and applications all are explained with pictures.

Also, you can download the PDF file at the end of this article.

What is Single Plate Clutch?

As the name suggests, the single plate clutch is a clutch that is made of only one clutch plate. Typically, a single-plate clutch works on the friction principle and is primarily used in many motor vehicles.

There are two main parts of the single plate clutch. One is attached to the driving shaft, and the other to the driven shaft. These shafts are parallel and concentric; one shaft is fixed to its housing, while the other is splined for axial movement.

The advantage of using a single clutch is that it is easier to change gears than a cone clutch, as there is less pedal movement. There is no possibility of binding or joining cones in single plate clutches, so they are more reliable than cone clutches. Let’s discuss this in detail.

Read Also: Different Types of Clutches and Their Working [Explained]

Parts of Single Plate Clutch

The single plate clutch is made of several components, which are listed below:

  1. Flywheel
  2. Pressure plate
  3. Friction lining
  4. Clutch plate
  5. Springs
  6. Pilot bearing
  7. Clutch cover
  8. Release lever
  9. Clutch shaft
  10. Fulcrum pin
Single Plate Clutch Parts

#1 Flywheel

It is the heaviest of all the parts included within the clutch. In this regard, it is attached to the crankshaft. The other side of the flywheel makes contact with the grasp plate. The primary function of the flywheel is to maintain the rotating mass (inertia) to help the engine’s rotation.

This provides a more consistent delivery of torque while running. This is the part that decides the amount of time to be taken by the whole system concerning engagement and disengagement.

#2 Pressure Plate

The pressure plate of the clutch is attached to the flywheel and spring. It is usually attached to a solid metal plate and takes the help of weight to maintain contact. Its function is to help move the clutch plate towards the flywheel. It is the part that controls the frictional force of the clutch.

#3 Friction Lining

The friction lining is the source from which the friction force is generated. It is usually attached to the grasp plate on both sides. During rotation, the friction lining makes contact with the flywheel and thus creates a frictional force.

With the help of this frictional force, torque is generated. Friction lining is made of a metal that has a high coefficient of friction in nature and never slips, and the surface produces friction.

#4 Clutch Plate

This is the most essential part of the clutch. The clutch plate is made of a thin plate of metals and has a friction lining on both sides. These are primarily intended to transmit power when an engagement occurs.

In addition, the clutch plate entirely depends on the working principle of the friction lining. The clutch plate rotates, and the friction lining produces friction with the flywheel and torque. Sometimes, this component is also called a clutch disc.

Read Also: Types of Metals: Their Properties and Uses [Explained]

#5 Springs

The springs are simply attached to the pressure plate via bolts. This usually helps the clutch plate to make contact with the flywheel to generate friction and torque.

The springs keep the flywheel moving forward or backward from the frictional surface of the clutch plate to maintain the amount of force generated by friction. Thus, the high coefficient of friction is also maintained, and a fair amount of torque is generated.

#6 Pilot Bearing

The pilot bearing is usually clamped to the end of the crankshaft to support the end of the transmission input shaft. This prevents the transmission shaft and clutch plate from tilting up and down when the clutch is released. In addition, it also helps the input shaft center of the disc on the flywheel.

#7 Clutch Cover

The clutch cover is attached to the flywheel via a screw connection to the housing. It ensures engine torque transmission to the gear shaft through the clutch disc by depressing the clutch disc on the flywheel.

#8 Release Lever

The release lever is also an important part that helps transfer force from the clutch lever to the pressure plate. This lever is pivoted on the pins of the clutch cover, locating their outer end, and positioned on the pressure plate. An important factor controlling the performance of the clutch assembly is the precise adjustment of the release mechanism.

#9 Clutch Shaft

The clutch shaft is also an essential component of the gearbox. As it is a splined shaft, it slides over the clutch plate hub. An end of the clutch shaft connects to the crankshaft or flywheel, while the other end forms a part of the gearbox.

#10 Fulcrum Pin

In this clutch, the release lever is rotated on the fulcrum pin. With the help of this pin, the release lever transmits the movement of the clutch pedal to the pressure plate when the driver presses the clutch pedal to disengage the clutch.

Read Also: Types of Transmission System Used In Vehicle [Explained]

Working of Single Plate Clutch

Single Plate Clutch Working

In a single plate clutch, the flywheel is mounted on the driver shaft. The clutch plate with a splined hub is mounted at one end of the splined driven shaft. It is free to slide axially on the driven shaft as well as rotate along the driven shaft.

There is friction lining on both sides of this clutch plate. Two friction linings of special abrasive material are riveted to the flywheel and pressure plate. A pressure plate is made to rotate internally to move freely on the driven shaft. There is also freedom for the pressure plate to slide axially.

Several springs are attached around the clutch to apply force to the pressure plate, which presses the clutch plate firmly against the flywheel when the clutch is engaged. The clutch is engaged, and the power can be transferred from the driver shaft to the driven shaft.

If the driver depresses the pedal, the pressure plate moves to the left. Thus the pressure on the clutch plate does not work. Here the power from the drive shaft is not transmitted to the driven shaft.

When the foot is removed from the clutch pedal, it releases pressure on the pressure plate. The spring causes the pressure plate to exert pressure on the clutch plate, thus resuming power transmission.

Read Also: How Does A Cylinder Block Work? Parts, Types, & Applications

Purposes of Single Plate Clutch

  1. They are installed to engage and disengage the driver and driven shaft.
  2. Their purpose is to connect or disconnect the engine to the rest of the transmission system without stopping the engine.
  3. This disconnects the engine from the rest of the transmission system to put the vehicle in first gear to start the car comfortably.
  4. The clutch disconnects the engine from the transmission system to change gear ratios while driving.
  5. This helps to drive without jerks when starting the vehicle from a resting position or changing gear ratios.
  6. In addition, it also facilitates gear shifting smoothly without noise and damage.
  7. The primary function of the single plate clutch is to allow the engine to load slowly without jerking.


  1. A single plate clutch is considered very good because of its quick response to the operation, i.e., smooth engagement and disengagement of the clutch.
  2. During operation, the clutch can generate heat due to frictional force, which helps in the power transmission process.
  3. Since the clutch generates very little heat, no cooling medium is required to cool the system.
  4. As the torque is reduced, so the power loss is less. Due to low power loss, it is safe for the engines to operate smoothly.
  5. During the engagement of the clutch, there is no slip. Due to it, the working becomes very smooth.

Read Also: What is the function of Timing Belt In Car? [PDF]


  1. As the clutch dries out, moisture damages the clutch and also requires high maintenance.
  2. Single plate clutch can transmit low torque.
  3. The clutch springs need to be more rigid, requiring greater force to disengage.
  4. The space required to adjust the clutch is greater than that of the multi-plate clutch.
  5. This type of clutch has high wear and tear rate.


  1. Single plate clutches can be found on most vehicles across the globe in the automotive industry.
  2. This clutch has a large radial shape. It is commonly used in large vehicles instead of smaller ones, such as buses, cars, and trucks.
  3. The high coefficient of friction makes single plate clutches the standard choice in most vehicles. 
  4. The torque generation is also much higher with this type of clutch in comparison with a wet clutch, so the clutch can be used mainly in large vehicles.

Wrapping It Up

I hope I have covered everything about “Single Plate Clutch.” If I missed something, or if you have any doubts, let me know in the comments. If you liked this article, please share it with your friends.

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About MD Iyas

He is a mechanical engineer by profession and has five years of experience in the mechanical engineering field. He knows everything about machines and production work. Say hi to him :)

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