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2 Transmission Formats and Designs 151

Fig. 6.8. Difference between two-wheel drive and all-wheel drive

This requires an understanding of the fundamental connection between circumfer-

ential force and lateral force on the wheel at high lateral acceleration. Wheel load,
wheel load fluctuations, and self-aligning torque and slip angle are ignored for the
sake of simplicity.
Figure 6.8 shows the conditions for a wheel at the friction limit for two-wheel
drive (left) and for all-wheel drive (right). With all-wheel drive the circumferential
force FU2 = FU1/2, given simplified assumptions. The wheel can transmit greater
lateral forces FS, until it reaches the friction limit at Fres.
The maximum transmittable circumferential force FU,max is derived from Equa-
tion 3.9 as

FU, max PH R . (6.1)

The maximum lateral force FS,max is

FS, max PH R . (6.2)

When the circumferential force FU and the lateral force FS both occur simultane-
ously, they make up a geometrical sum (see Figure 6.8). To avoid sliding, this
must not exceed Fres = µH R (Kamm circle). The Kamm circle represents the fric-
tion limit for the rolling wheel transmitting both circumferential and lateral forces
at the same time. The following relationship applies:

Fres FU2  FS2 d P H R . (6.3)

6.2 Transmission Formats and Designs

Completed transmissions are distinguished in terms of format and design. Trans-

mission format relates to the morphology or external appearance of the transmis-
sion, or the configuration of input and output.
152 6 Vehicle Transmission Systems: Basic Design Principles

Fig. 6.9. Specification factors for

transmission format and design

The transmission design describes how the main functions of the transmission are
engineered. It relates to the internal configuration. Transmissions can thus have
different designs and share the same format. The format selected for a design de-
pends on various criteria; principally the vehicle design, the type of engine and the
intended use (Figure 6.9).

6.2.1 Transmission Format

The format of the transmission (Figure 6.10) is determined primarily by the posi-
tion of the transmission in the vehicle or in the powertrain (Section 6.1), and any
additional geometrical constraints, such as space limitations. The format is also af-
fected by assembly considerations (both as regards the transmission itself and as
regards its installation in the vehicle), by gearbox housing rigidity and by noise
emissions. Transmissions often comprise several individual gearboxes, which can
also be housed in separate gearbox housings. In this case, the relative position of
the individual housings is an important factor influencing the format of the trans-
mission as a whole.

Fig. 6.10. Examples of different transmission formats

6.2 Transmission Formats and Designs 153

The format of a transmission concerns the design engineer principally when adapt-
ing or developing existing designs, for example adapting an existing transmission
to a new vehicle with different dimensional constraints.
With standard drive (front-mounted longitudinal engine and transmission, rear-
wheel drive, Figure 6.2g), the coaxial transmission format is used. If there are two
driven rear axles, or if all-wheel drive is used, then a transfer box is needed, which
may be flange-mounted directly onto the gearbox or separate from it.
For front-wheel drive layouts, a transmission format is used in which the axle
drive with the differential is integrated into the gearbox. Input and output are not
coaxial in this case.

6.2.2 Transmission Design

The transmission design is derived from the functional principles applied, to fulfil
the main functions of the transmission. As already indicated in Section 2.3.3, a
vehicle transmission has four main functions: “Moving-off from rest”, “Changing
ratio/rotational speed”, “Shifting/establishing power flow” and “Operating/con-
trolling the gearbox”.
The “Moving-off from rest” function can be carried out mechanically, electro-
mechanically or hydraulically. The “Changing ratio/rotational speed” function can
be carried out using spur gears, planetary gears, hydrodynamic or hydrostatic
transmissions or mechanical continuously variable transmissions. The “Shift-
ing/establishing power flow” function can be divided into the two functional prin-
ciples positive engagement or frictional engagement. The “Operating/controlling”
function can be carried out by manual shifting, automation or an automatic system
with associated control unit.
Their selection depends on the power to be transmitted, considering traction
utilisation and ease of operation. Especially in the case of new developments, the
design engineer has to decide on the design or combination of designs of the
Combinations of different designs are, in principle, always an option for carry-
ing out the various main functions. In the last 100 years numerous possible solu-
tions have been proposed for vehicle transmissions. These can be systematically
represented in a morphological matrix (Table 6.6). The main functions are shown
in the four rows of this table, and the associated solution principles applied appear
in the columns. By combining these principles to form a complete transmission,
you get all possible combinations of transmission designs. Not all theoretical
combinations are of significance or relevance in practice.
A preliminary selection can be made by assessing the design under considera-
tion, and other alternatives. This preliminary selection follows on from the con-
cept phase of transmission development.
In multi-range transmissions (Section 6.7.1), these main functions can take dif-
ferent forms for each individual range unit. Each individual range unit must have
the following main functions: “Changing ratio/rotational speed”, “Shifting/
establishing power flow” and “Operating/controlling the gearbox”.
154 6 Vehicle Transmission Systems: Basic Design Principles

Table 6.6. Morphological matrix of solution principles for the main functions.
The principles underlying a conventional manual gearbox are highlighted in grey

Even with multi-range transmissions, only one principle is used for the main func-
tion of enabling “Moving-off”. The number of functional principles and their
physical principles of operation can change as technology advances.

6.3 Basic Gearbox Concept

Geared transmissions are categorised by their technical design or the number of

ratio stages making up the individual gears:
x single-stage transmissions,
x two-stage transmissions and
x multi-stage transmissions.
The term “stage” refers here to a gear pair or the power flow from one gearwheel
to another. A stage generally involves power flow from one shaft to another. Fig-
ure 6.11 shows designs of four-speed countershaft transmissions. The term “coun-
tershaft transmission” is defined in Section 6.4. Single-stage transmissions are
primarily used in front-wheel drive vehicles, since they require no coaxial trans-
mission of the power flow, unlike standard drive vehicles.
In the standard powertrain configuration (engine and transmission in the front,
drive at the rear), the two-stage countershaft transmission with coaxial input and
output shaft is virtually universal.
6.3 Basic Gearbox Concept 155

Fig. 6.11. Configuration of the ratio stages using 4-speed gearboxes as examples

Multi-stage (more than two-stage) transmissions are just as suitable as single-stage

transmissions for front-engine front-wheel drive vehicles. The number of gear
stages they have depends upon the number of gears. The multi-stage design en-
ables short gearboxes to be constructed. Multi-stage coaxial transmissions are
used principally in commercial vehicles with front- or rear-mounted range units
(see Section 6.7.1).
To decide on the type of transmission for a particular application, first the basic
ratio change options need to be defined. The shifting elements involved also by
definition constitute part of the transmission.

6.3.1 Shifting with Power Interruption

The transmission is shifted without load, i.e. the power flow between the prime
mover and the wheels is interrupted during the gear change operation. The vehicle
coasts during the gear change operation. This can entail a loss of speed (Figure
6.12), depending on the difficulty of the terrain (gradient, high rolling resistance).
In order to limit this loss of speed, the shifting operation must not take too long;
the whole gear change operation must therefore be concluded in less than one sec-
ond. For multi-range transmissions this means that the gear change operations in
the individual range units must be carried out within 0.2 to 0.3 seconds (assuming
they are in succession). This is one reason why the number of ranges in a trans-
mission cannot be increased indefinitely, although this would lead to a reduction
in the number of gear pairs needed (see also Section 6.7.1). The requirement for
several individual shifting actions to occur synchronously at the various shifting
points is demanding in engineering terms.
Transmissions with power interruption can be used wherever the application is
such that vehicle speed does not decrease (or on downhill runs increase) signifi-
cantly during the shifting process, and the shifting operation is reasonably practi-
cal for the driver. In addition to manually shifted transmissions, this also applies to
automated transmissions with which the power flow is interrupted by opening the
master clutch when shifting gears.
156 6 Vehicle Transmission Systems: Basic Design Principles

Fig. 6.12. Qualitative traction and velocity profile when shifting up with power interruption

In the case of automated countershaft-type truck transmissions, shifting normally

involves power interruption. Vehicle acceleration forces are relatively low, the ve-
hicle mass is high, and ride quality is not the top priority.

6.3.2 Shifting without Power Interruption

As in the case of shifting with power interruption, the transmission ratio is

changed in steps. But in this case, the power flow is not interrupted during the
gear change operation (Figure 6.13).
Such transmissions are known as frictional transmissions or powershift trans-
missions. The transition from one ratio to another is carried out without interrupt-
ing the power flow. The ratios can be engaged under load by means of additional
braking or clutch elements. In this case the gear set which is being shifted out of is
disengaged from the power flow, whilst the new gear set is engaged in the power
flow. There is no reduction in road speed.

Fig. 6.13. Qualitative traction and velocity profile for upward powershift
6.3 Basic Gearbox Concept 157

Examples of this type of transmission are automatic transmissions with various

gear ratios (conventional automatic transmissions, countershaft-type automatic
transmissions and dual clutch transmissions, see Figure 1.2).
Powershift transmissions are well suited for fast shifting. Transmissions of this
type are used in heavy vehicles, where vehicles operate in difficult terrain and in
all vehicles where the driver is to be relieved of gearshifting activity. They are fit-
ted both with manual and with automatic gear selection.

6.3.3 Continuously Variable Transmissions without Power


Here ratio shifting is no longer in steps, but varies continuously (see also Sections
5.3.4 and 6.6.6). The traction is adapted to the driving resistance without any in-
tervention by the driver (Figure 6.14). This type of characteristic output conver-
sion represents the theoretically ideal solution. Various mechanical variants are
known in the form of friction gears or pulley transmissions which are based on
converting the rotational speed to continuously variable diameters. In addition to
the mechanical variants, there are also hydraulic solutions. The hydrodynamic
converter is the best known example of this.
Hydrostatic transmissions comprising a combination of pump and motor also
provide continuously variable regulation of rotational speed. Usually a hydrostatic
transmission is coupled to a planetary gear to increase the overall gear ratio and to
preselect different operating ranges, some with power-split.

Fig. 6.14. Qualitative traction and velocity profile for continuously upward powershift
with CVT