What is a Harmonic Damper?

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Harmonic Damper:

A harmonic damper is a device fitted to the free (accessory drive) end of the crankshaft of an enclosed combustion engine to counter torsional and resonance vibrations from the crankshaft. This device must be interference suitable for the crankshaft to work effectively. An interference fit ensures the device moves in perfect step with the crankshaft. It’s essential on engines with long crankshafts (such as straight-6, straight-8 engines) and V8 engines with cross-plane cranks. Harmonics and torsional vibrations can greatly reduce crankshaft life, or cause instantaneous failure if the crankshaft runs at or through an amplified resonance. Dampers are designed with a particular weight (mass) and diameter, which are addicted to the damping material/method used, to scale back mechanical Q factor, or damp, crankshaft resonances.

A harmonic balancer (sometimes crankshaft damper, torsional damper, or vibration damper) is that the same thing as a harmonic damper except that the balancer includes a counterweight to externally balance the rotating assembly. The harmonic balancer often is a pulley for the accessory drive belts turning the alternator, water pump, and other crankshaft-driven devices.

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