Basic Technology

Chain Drive, Types, Classifications, Advantages and Disadvantages

len Alfred Ajibola - Mon, 12th August, 2019 @ 13:19

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Academic Questions in Basic Technology

Please check out our Test Your Knowledge page to see all Questions and Answers

Which of the following is not a function of thin continuous line in Technical drawing?

  • A. Used for representing projection lines
  • B. Used as construction lines
  • C. Used for representing visible outline and edges
  • D. Used for representing leader lines
  • E. Used as intersection lines
  • F. Used as measurement lines

The following are Types of Line in Technical Drawing EXCEPT _____.

  • A. thin continuous line
  • B. inverse head line
  • C. thin dash line
  • D. continuous thin straight zigzag line
  • E. free hand line
  • F. chain thin line with thick ends

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Chain Drive:

The chain drive is one of the mechanisms through which power is transmitted mechanically from an engine to the wheels via an endless rotating chain.

Using a tractor as an instance, you probably had seen some of its large chain wheels. These massive chains are responsible for transmitting power and kinetic energy (energy in motion) via the rotational movements of the chains. The rate of rotation of these chains results in the speed level of the tractor.

Please read on Motion and Force here

Apart from the tractor, some of the other mechanisms of power transmission that utilizes the chain drive technology include:

  • Chain saw
  • Print machines
  • Bicycles
  • Motorcycles
  • Elevators and so on.

The image below shows the Roller Chain (which is a type of Chain Drive):

Roller Chain - Len Academy

Note: A chain drive consists of an endless chain running over two sprockets.

Think of the sprockets as toothed wheels over which an endless rotational chain is fitted.

The chain; often called; roller chain or drive chain or transmission chain is used to convey power over two sprocket wheels with its edged teeth meshing with the holes at the center of the chain.

Chain drives are employed or utilized in diverse areas; some of which include:

  • Power transmission
  • Oil well drilling rigs
  • Load lifting
  • Building and Construction
  • Transportation and Agricultural machinery

Please read on Agricultural Machineries and Tools here

Classification of Chain Drives

Based on the utilization or uses of the chain drives, they can be classified into three types:

  1. Power Transmission Chains: These chain drives are used for transmitting power from one shaft to another. They are utilized in chain tractors, bicycles, chainsaws and motorcycles.
  2. Load Lifting Chains: They can be used to raise, lower or suspend load when handling materials through a machine. The most suitable chains for lifting load are termed load linking chains. They generally operate at a low speed and are quite heavy in weight. On the positive side, they are very flexible and do not generate noise while in operation.
  3. Hauling Chains: They aid in the carrying of materials by continuously pulling or sliding it onwards.


Types of Chain Drive

Below are explanations of the various types of chain drive:

  • Roller Chains

The roller chains are very common since they are used in bicycles, motorcycles and vehicle engines.

They are made up of a series of small cylindrical rollers attached together at both sides of its entire length.

The roller chain requires the sprockets in order to transmit mechanical power. (Please see the image of the Roller Chain in the above diagram).

Note: Roller chains can be single-stranded or multiple-stranded.

  1. The single-stranded roller chain is very common and its power rating capacity can cover a variety of drive load requirements.
  2. Multiple-roller chain provides and increased power capacity without any need for an increase in the chain's rotational speed.


  • Silent Chains

Also called the inverted tooth chains, the silent chains are series of toothed link plates that are attached to one another in a pin-like manner that allows for free flexing of the chains.

Silent Chains - Len Academy

Note: It is difficult to connect together the silent chains from different manufacturers.

Silent chains operate with reduced noise levels and can transform more loads and at a higher speed than a roller chain of the same width.

They are preferably used in industrial equipment where quietness, silence and smoothness are required.


  • Leaf Chains

They are preferable used for lifting processes rather than power transmission. They don’t need meshing with sprocket sockets because they are made to run over sheaves.

Leaf Chains - Len Academy

Leaf chains are commonly utilized in trucks that lift large and heavy loads.


  • Flat-Top Chains

The flat-top chains are manufactured for the purpose of conveying materials; thus are widely used in conveyors.

They consist of plates made up of steel with hinge-like barrels curled on each side with pins inserted into the barrels to create joints acting as both beams and bearings.

Flat-Top Chains - Len Academy

The connecting pins in a flat-top chain are usually enlarged or knurled at one end, giving rise to its continuous length.


  • Detachable Chains

Detachable chains are made up of similar links that can be easily detached from one another. Each of the link comprise of a hook-shaped end in which adjacent articulation occur.

Detachable Chains will usually transmit power at lower speed.

Detachable Chains - Len Academy

Detachable chains can be easily assembled and disassembled by pulling up the slack and flexing the links, then sliding a link sideways.

Please read on the Advantages and Disadvantages of Chain Drives here

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Alfred Ajibola is a Medical Biochemist, a passionate Academician with over 7 years of experience, a Versatile Writer, a Web Developer, a Cisco Certified Network Associate and a Cisco CyberOps Associate.

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