Cone Clutch – Parts, Working, Advantages and Disadvantages

Cone Clutch is a type of frictional clutch. It is used to engage and disengage engine shaft to the transmission box shaft while changing gear ratio.
Cone clutch uses two conical surfaces to transmit torque by friction. One surface is called male member and another one is called female member.
Cone clutch is easier to engage and disengage as compared to a positive displacement clutch which was used before cone clutches were invented.
Higher torque can be transferred using the cone clutch than same size of plate clutch due to greater contact area.
The driving shaft and the driven shaft must be perfectly coaxial for efficient functioning of the clutch.
This clutch can be used where high torque transmission is required at low rotating speed. So, this type of clutch is widely is heavy vehicles.

Cone Clutch
Cone Clutch

Parts of Cone Clutch:

1 Female Cone or Outer Cone:- It is the part of the cone clutch that is connected to the flywheel of the engine and also rotates with it.
This part id always in rotating condition as the engine shaft rotates continuously.
Female cone has inner cutting cone-shaped groove which has friction lining over which the male cone interlocks and make frictional contact with it in order to engage the drive.
This female cone is mounted over solid shaft.

2 Male Cone or Inner Cone:-
This cone is connected to the transmission system or the gearbox. Inner cone has friction lining in the outer part which creates frictional contact with inner friction lining of the outer cone. By default, inner cone remains in contact with the outer cone with the help of pressure springs which is placed behind the inner cone.
When the clutch pedal is pressed in conditions like changing gear, the spring is compressed and the inner cone moves away from the outer cone and disengages from the outer cone and hence the engine is disengaged from the transmission box. This inner cone has inner splines and moves over slines of shaft for to and from motion.

3 Springs:-
Springs are located behind the male cone which are used to keep the inner cone engaged with outer cone.
When the clutch pedal is pressed, the spring compresses and the inner cone disengages with outer cone and hence the friving shaft is disconnected from driven shaft.

4 Sleeves:-
Sleeves are the part of the clutch which is attached to the male cone and mounted on the splines and these sleeves are used for to and fro motion of male cone.

5 Pedal:-
A clutch pedal is used to operate the clutch. When the clutch pedal is pressed, the spring is compressed through the falcrum attached at its other end.


By default, the male cone is engaged with the female cone due to the pressure of the spring which is present behind the male cone.
When the clutch pedal is pressed in order to change the gear or for some other cause, the fulcrum which is attached to pedal rotates which in turn compresses the spring and also the male cone is pulled away from the female cone. Thus the contact between the male cone and female cone will break. So, the engine shaft will be disengaged from transmission system and rotation of engine shaft or driving shaft will not be transferred to the transmission shaft or the driven shaft.
Now after the disengagement when the clutch pedal is released slowly by the driver after changing the gears, the fulcrum which is attached to the pedal rotates and the spring expands and the male cone starts moving towards the female cone over splines. After that, the male clutch make contact with the female clutch and friction force act between the inner friction lining of outer cone and outer friction lining of inner cone. Now the cone clutch is said to be in engage position and the roatation of engine shaft or driving shaft is transferred to the transmission shaft or driven shaft and both the shaft start rotating at same speed.
The stiffness by the spring keeps the male cone and female cone of the cone clutch in engaged position.


1) The normal force acting on contact surface is greater than the axial force.
2) Higher torque can be transferred than the same size of plate clutch due to large amount of frictional force involved.
3) It creates less noise than plate clutch.
4) Less wear and tear as compared to displacement clutch.


1) High maintenance is required because very little wear can cause a considerable amount of the axial movement of the inner cone.
2) It becomes very difficult to disengage if the cone angle is smaller than required. For easy disengagement, the cone angle should be exactly as required.


1) Cone clutches are used in heavy vehicles as they can transmit high torque.
2) Cone clutches are used is racing boats.
3) Cone clutch is also used in extreme off-road vehicles.
4) It is also used in low peripheral speed applications.
5) It is also used as a synchronizer in various manual transmissions.

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