Engine Harmonic Balancers
A harmonic balancer is a device that is connected to the crankshaft,in order to reduce torsional vibration and serves as a pulley for drive belts. As the crankshaft turns by the firing of the pistons, a rhythmic force is created and exerted on the crankshaft. Having these constant pressure changes will cause vacillations in the applied torque, which can stress the metal of the crankshaft which can eventually lead it to fail.
The harmonic balancer takes the shape of a cylindrical object which is attached to the crankshaft. This object has a large mass and is usually made out of steel to produce that added weight. The extra weight added by the harmonic balancer will keep the crankshaft from speeding up to much when it’s moving and slowing down to much when it is not moving. This easier transition between when the crankshaft is being spun at full speed, or not being spun at all will reduce some of the stress that can build up in the crankshaft.
The other element to the harmonic balancer is the internal sleeve which is made out of rubber or some other absorbent material. This material is designed to absorb vibrations that develop from the churning of the pistons. These vibrations can build up as the crankshaft changes speeds which can cause the metal to fatigue faster and can cause bolts or other parts of the engine to come loose. Both of these effects created by the harmonic balancer will help in stabilizing the inherently violent movements of an engine. Over time, this absorbent material which is usually rubber can deteriorate which will comprise the crankshaft and can cause it to develop cracks if the absorbent material is not replaced.
Some high performance engines used in race cars and other applications such as that may not use a harmonic balancer. This is due to the fact that it adds weight to the crankshaft which can reduce the amount of power the engine produces. Since the crankshaft will weigh more with the extra weight on it, the time it takes to get up to full speed will take longer which can slow vehicles acceleration. Some of these vehicles that don’t use a harmonic balancer are probably using a performance oriented product that counter-acts these resonance frequencies.
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