The magnitudes of the impacts in chain drives are a function of the sprocket speed, chain link pitch, the number of links in the chain span, and the mass distribution within each link. The impulsive force may be viewed as equivalent to the effective mass of the chain span being concentrated at the roller and applied to the sprocket at the impact velocity. This effective mass is derived in this paper from first principles using Lagrange’s impact equations. Contrary to accepted rules, it was found that the effective mass decreases with increase in chain length. Moreover the impulsive force on the links of the chain span decreases exponentially with the distance from the impacted roller. Motion characteristics of the chain immediately after impact are also discussed.

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