Belt drives employing a single, flat serpentine belt tensioned by a passive tensioner are found in automotive engine Front End Accessory Drive (FEAD) where the crankshaft supplies power to accessories like alternators, air-conditioning compressors, pumps, etc. [1]. When the FEAD undergoes forced vibration due to crankshaft excitation, dynamic tension fluctuations can cause the belt to slip on the accessory pulleys [2]. The probability of belt slip increases with the peak drop in belt tension over the pulley during steady state operation [3]. In this paper, one possible solution is analyzed, using a decoupler to isolate/separate the accessory inertia (e.g. alternator) from the FEAD system. This is achieved by placing between the pulley and the accessory a combination of a one-way rigid clutch and an isolator spring. In this study, the rotational response of a typical FEAD is extended to include the clutch and isolator. An analytical solution is then obtained by considering it as a piecewise-linearized system moving about an equilibrium angular displacements. The performance of the ordinary FEAD with regard to tension fluctuation is then compared to that of the system equipped with a decoupler/isolator. The results obtained indicate that within the practical working range of engine speeds, use of either an isolator or a decoupler-isolator could significantly lower the dynamic tension drop across the accessory pulley.

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