Schematic drawing of a cone clutch:
1. Cones: female cone (green), male cone(blue)
2. Shaft: male cone is sliding on splines
3. Friction material: usually on female cone, here on male cone
4. Spring: brings the male cone back after using the clutch control
5. Clutch control: separating both cones by pressing
6. Rotating direction: both direction of the axis are possible
A cone clutch serves the same purpose as a disk or plate clutch. However, instead of mating two spinning disks, the cone clutch uses two conical surfaces to transmit torque by friction.
The cone clutch transfers a higher torque than plate or disk clutches of the same size due to the wedging action and increased surface area. Cone clutches are generally now only used in low peripheral speed applications although they were once common in automobiles and other combustion engine transmissions.
They are usually now confined to very specialist transmissions in racing, rallying, or in extreme off-road vehicles, although they are common in power boats. This is because the clutch does not have to be pushed in all the way and the gears will be changed quicker. Small cone clutches are used in synchronizer mechanisms in manual transmissions.