What Are Valve Gears And How Do They Work?

Did you know that Stephenson valve gears were invented during the 1840s by employees of Stephenson’s Locomotive Works? If you are trying to understand what valve gears are for and how they work, you are in the right place. We have put together this quick guide to tell you all the ins and outs of these types of gears. 

Keep reading to learn more.

What Are Valve Gears?

The simplest definition of valve gears is when a certain number of gears give motion to the valves of an engine. Usually, valve gears are found in steam engines. In a steam engine, the valve gear is the mechanism that has control over the exhaust and the inlet valves in order to allow steam to go into the cylinder, and then exhaust steam is able to escape. 

How Do Gears Work?

Gears are able to transmit power from one part of a machine to another part of it. A good example is a bicycle that uses a chain to help it switch gears and is able to take power from the pedals to the back wheel. 

In a car, the gears transmit power from the crankshaft to the driveshaft that runs under the car and powers the wheels. 

What Can Gears Do?

Depending on the machine there will be a different number of gears that are connected together. Keep in mind that these gears will vary in shapes and sizes, based on the machine they are in. Every time you pass power from one gear wheel to the next there are three different things that can happen:

Increase Force

When the second wheel in the pair of gears has more teeth in it than the first one, it will turn slower but it will have more force. In machines that have a smaller and a larger wheel, the valves can work to increase the force in the mechanism. 

Increase Speed

If you have two gears with the first one having more teeth than the second one then the second one will have to turn around much faster than the first one in order to keep up. This means that the second wheel will turn faster but with a lot less force than the first one. 

Change Directions

In instances when you have two gears mesh together, the second one will always go in the opposite direction. This means that if the first one is turning clockwise then the second one has to turn counterclockwise. Different machines will use different shaped gears in order to have the power of the machine turn through an angle. 

Feeling Like a Valve Gear Pro?

Now that you know the ins and outs of valve gears, we hope you are no longer confused about what they are and how they work. Gears are all around you and you might not have realized it until today. 

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