What Is A Ratchet Mechanism And How Does It Function?

Ratchet MechanismRatchet Mechanism

A ratchet is a mechanical device that allows continuous linear or rotary motion in only one direction while preventing motion in the opposite direction. Ratchets are widely used in machinery and tools. Though something of a misnomer, “ratchet” is also often used to refer to ratcheting socket wrenches, a common tool with a ratcheting handle.

What Is A Ratchet Mechanism And How Does It Function?

A ratchet consists of a round gear or linear rack with teeth, and a pivoting, spring-loaded finger called a pawl that engages the teeth. The teeth are uniform but asymmetrical, with each tooth having a moderate slope on one edge and a much steeper slope on the other edge.

When the teeth are moving in the unrestricted (forward) direction, the pawl easily slides up over the edges of the teeth, with a spring forcing it into the depression between the teeth as it passes the tip of each tooth. When the teeth move in the opposite (backward) direction, however, the pawl will catch against the steeply sloped edge of the first tooth it encounters, thereby locking it against the tooth and preventing any further motion in that direction.

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