The crankshaft is the heart of any engine. By means of connecting rods, the crankshaft converts the oscillating, linear movement of the pistons into rotational movements, which then drive the engine of the car or other vehicle.
The crankshaft is used everywhere that energy and power are transformed into rotational movements. It has a very wide variety of applications, ranging from chainsaws to automotive engines, all the way up to diesel generators in marine engines. Typical areas of application include:
- Compressors / chillers
- Power generators
- (Gas) lawnmowers
- Rail vehicles
- Motor vehicles such as motorcycles, cars and trucks
- Marine enginee
Structure and types of crankshafts
A crankshaft is made up of the following components:
- Main bearings: Centric diameters that define the rotational axis of the crankshaft.
- Pin bearings: Receive the connecting rods, which turn the energy into rotational movements.
- Crank webs: Connect the main bearings to the pin bearings.
Crankshafts can be forged or cast. Forged crankshafts are produced using a complicated forging method, and cast crankshafts are made by pouring molten metal into a mould. Crankshafts are also categorized according to the number of cylinders they have – anywhere from 1 to 12 and sometimes even 14 or 18. Crankshafts can range in size from just a few centimeters long (for small engines) to up to 15 or even 16 meters long (mostly for use in marine diesel engines.)