What does a flywheel do?

2 minutesread

Flywheel Does This:

Consider something like an old-fashioned steam traction engine—essentially a significant old tractor powered by an external-combustion engine that runs on the road rather than on rails. For example, we have an engine with an oversized flywheel that sits between the engine producing the facility and the wheels that are taking that power and moving the engine down the road. Further, let’s suppose the flywheel has clutches so it is connected or disconnected from either the external-combustion engine, the driving wheels, or both. The flywheel can do three very useful jobs for us.

 

First:

if the external-combustion engine produces power intermittently (maybe because it’s just one cylinder), the flywheel helps to rid the facility the wheels receive. So while the engine’s cylinder might add power to the flywheel every thirty seconds (every time the piston pushes out from the cylinder), the wheels could take power from the flywheel at a gradual, continual rate—and the engine would roll smoothly rather than jerking along in fits and starts (as it’d if it were powered directly by the piston and cylinder).

 

Second:

The flywheel will be wont to weigh down the vehicle, sort of a break—but a brake that soaks up the vehicle’s energy rather than wasting it sort of a normal brake. Suppose you’re driving a locomotive engine down a street and you suddenly want to stop it. You may disengage the external-combustion engine with the clutch so that the vehicle would start to bog down. Because it did so, energy would be transferred from the vehicle to the flywheel, which might devour speed and keep spinning. You’ll then disengage the flywheel to make the vehicle stopped completely. Next time you go off again, you’d use the clutch to reconnect the flywheel to the driving wheels, that the flywheel would return much of the engine it absorbed during braking.

 

Third:

A flywheel is accustomed to providing temporary extra power when the engine can’t produce enough. Suppose you wish to overtake a slow-moving horse and cart. Maybe the flywheel has been spinning a few times but isn’t currently connected to either the engine or the wheels. Once you reconnect it to the wheels, it’s sort of a second engine that has extra power. It only works temporarily, however, because the energy you feed to the wheels must be lost from the flywheel, causing it to bog down.

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