Most people know the two basic transmission types; there are manual transmissions which require that the driver change gears by using a stick shift and then there are automatics which do all of the shifting work using sets of planetary gears. Many people don’t know that there is something in between that offers the best of both worlds – the dual-clutch transmission (DCT). This article will explore how a dual-clutch transmission works and why some predict that it is the transmission of the future.
A dual-clutch transmission offers the function of two manual gearboxes in one. To understand what this means, it’s helpful to review how manual gearboxes work. When a driver wants to change from one gear to another, he first presses down the clutch pedal. This operates a single clutch, which disconnects the engine from the gearbox.Then the driver uses the stick shift to select a new gear. Once the new gear is engaged, the driver releases the clutch pedal, which re-connects the engine to the gearbox and transmits power to the wheels.
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A dual-clutch gearbox, by contrast, uses two clutches, but has no clutch pedal. Sophisticated electronics and hydraulics control the clutches, just as they do in a standard automatic transmission. In a DCT, however, the clutches operate independently. One clutch controls the odd gears (first, third, fifth and reverse), while the other controls the even gears (second, fourth and sixth). Using this arrangement, gears can be changed almost instantly without interrupting the power flow from the engine to the transmission. In principle, the DCT behaves just like a standard manual transmission: It’s got input and auxiliary shafts to house gears, synchronizers and a clutch. What it doesn’t have is a clutch pedal, because computers, solenoids and hydraulics do the actual shifting.
Perhaps the most compelling advantage of a DCT is improved fuel economy. Because power flow from the engine to the transmission is not interrupted, fuel efficiency increases dramatically. Some experts say that a six-speed DCT can deliver up to a 10 percent increase in relative fuel efficiency when compared to a conventional five-speed automatic. This can be a significant issue when automobile manufacturers are designing cars to meet Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency Standards.
Source: Lebanon Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram