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Nugget of Knowledge – Differential Drive in Automobiles

I am pretty sure we all know how trucks look like. They look something like this –

Just a truck

Just a truck

My childhood curiosity was this –

Differential of a truck

Differential of a truck

All vehicles had them and it looked so out of place. I wondered what it did. I was sure it was part of the transmission and helped in driving the rear wheels using the engine but the question was why didn’t they use a chain (like in cycles) or simple gears to drive it? Why specially make such odd looking round thing and put it between wheels?

Well, I did find the answer! It looks something like this on the inside –

Insides of a differential

Insides of a differential

What is does is that it can drive both rear wheels independent of each other! As if both were connected to different engines! Interesting right? 🙂

How does it do it? See this video made by Chevrolet Motors in 1973 (exactly when it all started) –

You can read more about here on Wikipedia : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Differential_(mechanical_device)

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