Modern engines can be driven at extremely low rpms. The trend is toward ever increasing engine torques. Wind-tunnel-optimized bodies are creating less wind noise. New calculation methods are helping reduce vehicle weights and weight-saving concepts are boosting engine efficiency as well. The addition of a fifth or a sixth gear can also reduce fuel consumption. Thinner oils are making precise shifting easier. In short: The sources of noise are increasing and natural damping is decreasing. What has remained is the principle of the internal combustion engine whose cyclical combustion processes excite torsional vibrations in the drive train – the unpleasant consequences of which are gear rattles and body booms.
Drivers who are accustomed to increased comfort no longer accept such background noises. The job of the clutch is now more important than ever – in addition to engaging and disengaging, it must effectively insulate the engine’s vibrations. Physically, this is easy to solve: The mass moment of inertia of the transmission must be increased without increasing the mass to be shifted. This dampens the engine’s torsional vibrations and brings about the desired comfort level. The process reduces load on the transmission at the same time.
It's all in the name
LuK was the first manufacturer in Europe to develop and sell a dual-mass flywheel in large-scale standard production that was able to realize this physical principle. The name says it all: The mass of the conventional flywheel was simply split in two. One part continues to belong to the engine’s mass moment of inertia, while the other part now increases the mass moment of inertia of the transmission. The two decoupled masses are linked by a spring/damping system. One clutch disc, without a torsion damper, between the secondary mass and the transmission handles the engaging and disengaging functions. A favorable side effect is that the transmission is easier to shift because of the low mass to be synchronized, and there is less synchronization wear.