The Basics of Couplings: What Are The Different Types?

The world is filled with industries that require complex mechanical parts to keep everything running correctly. Most of these parts never get the attention or recognition that they deserve, and yet this lack of exposure in the spotlight makes them no less vital.

Couplings rank high on the list of parts for commercial equipment and other machinery that are often ignored or misunderstood. Couplings fall into two major categories;  mechanical flexing and material flexing.

Anyone familiar with basic engineering understands the undeniable importance of both categories of coupling, and yet you might not be aware of the different types of coupling that fall under each of these two primary categories.

This article takes a look at the different types. Keep reading to discover insight into these vital parts and why they are so indispensable to mechanical engineering

Mechanical Flexing Couplings

This category of coupling is intended to accept misalignments associated with sliding, rocking, or rolling metal surfaces. Each of these requires proper lubrication.

Gear Coupling

This type of coupling has two hubs, each consisting of external gear teeth. Gear couplings are designed to accommodate angular and axial misalignment during rocking or sliding.

Grid Coupling

A grid coupling features two radially slotted hubs that mesh together via a strip of spring steel. This type of coupling transmits torque to accommodate angular, parallel, and axial misalignments during rocking or sliding.

Roller Chain Coupling

A roller chain coupling consists of two radially sprocketed hubs which engage a strand of roller chain. This type of coupling is primarily used to moderate torque.

Chain Coupling

Chain couplings feature a chain around a single hub. This chain requires periodic lubrication that is to be brushed over the chain, and then the chain is covered to hold in the lubrication.

Material Flexing Couplings

Material flexing couplings are designed to accept axial, parallel, and angular misalignment. None of these types of couplings require lubrication.

Sleeve Coupling

This type of coupling transmits low to medium torque between pieces of connected equipment using males splines that are positioned to mate with female hub splines. A sleeve coupling can handle moderate misalignment.

Jaw Coupling

This is a material flexing coupling that’s designed to transmit compression torque between two intermeshing jaws. A jaw coupling can typically handle low torque for general-purpose mechanical applications.

Disk Coupling

The primary purpose of a disk coupling is to transmit tension and compression torque. This type of coupling can typically accommodate angular and axial misalignment.

Tire Coupling

Tire couplings feature a rubber or polyurethane element connecting two hubs and are designed to transmit torque in shear. These couplings have high misalignment capacity as well as a wide range of torque capacity.

Diaphragm Coupling

A diaphragm coupling is designed to transmit torque from the outside to the inside of the flexible plate. This type of coupling allows angular, parallel, and high axial misalignments.

The Basic Coupling Types and Their Uses

As you can see, there are many types of coupling. The more you understand about coupling, the higher the number of applications you can engage in. This article offers a basic overview of the primary shaft coupling types as well as their individual capacities.

Click here to learn about the types of mechanical brakes and how they differ.


Posted in Couplings.