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The Ikona Clutch and Differential
This paper describes two devices, a clutch and a differential, which are based on the Ikona CVT. This CVT is essentially an internal gear pair, in which the pinion is mounted on an eccentric that can drive or be driven by an electric motor/generator, thus providing a variable ratio. Since this arrangement allows for "branching" of energy flow(s), it can be classified as summation-type CVT.
When the CVT is used as a clutch, it would replace the friction-plate clutch in vehicles with standard transmissions, and the fluid torque converter in automatic transmissions. The new clutch will be referred to as the electric torque converter. Any excess energy is converted into electrical energy, and either stored in the battery, or reintroduced into the system through the motor/generator. Modulation of the clutch can be very smooth which is particularly advantageous when the vehicle starts from rest on uphill slopes. Since no friction element is involved, and only a fraction of torque is being manipulated, the modulation can be repeatable regardless of conditions. Finally, in a hybrid-vehicle arrangement, the clutch can be used to maintain the engine at its optimum speed (within limits), regardless of the road speed and the gearbox ratio.
Similar principals apply to the Ikona differential. Unlike today's limited slip differentials, the Ikona differential allows full torque to be transmitted through one drive wheel, even though the other drive wheel may have completely lost traction. Unlike traditional differentials that allow wheels to rotate at different speeds, the Ikona differential forces the wheels to do so. Accordingly when the vehicle is changing direction, the differential can be used to control the speed of each drive wheel, thus providing active torque steering.
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