The following notation is used through out the chapter on Belli:

A= Sectional area of belt (square inches;)

= th. b = Width of belt (inches). F=Force of Iriction at pulley rim (lbs,'. h =Thicknessof bell (inches) u = Coefficient of friction. N = Number of revolutions of pulley per n=Fraction of circumferenc of pulley embraced by bell. P = Driving force at pulley rim (lbs.) = F.

R= Radius of pulley (feet).

r = Radius of pulley (inches).

T = Initial tension (lbs.).

Tn=Total tension on light aide (lbs.).

To = Total tension on slack side (lbs).

t = Working tension of belt ( lbs, per square inch).

V = Velocity of belt (feet per minute).

w = Weight of belt per cubic inch (lbs).

z = Factor due to contrifugal force.


When a belt is stretched over a pair of pulleys, is cut off at the proper length, and is laced together into an end. less hand, it is evident that as long as the belt is at rest there is a nearly uniform tension in it throughout its length, due to the tightness with which the lacing is drawn up. If the distance between the. pulleys is considerable, the weight of the belt itself as it hangs between the pulleys will produce a slightly greater tension next to the pulleys than exists in the middle of the span. This increase of tension due to the weight of the belt would make but little difference in the unit-stress in the material of which the belt is made; hence it may safely be assumed that the tension in the belt when at rest is uniform throughout its entire length.

When we start to transmit power through the belt by turning one of the pulleys, thereby driving the other pulley the condition of stress in the belt is at once materially changed. As the belt is in flexible member, we can transmit only a pull to the other pulley, thereby turning it around, the push which is at the same time given to the other side of the belt merely acting to make the belt sag or become slack. Hence the immediate effect of starting motion in a belt is to change the condition of equal tension through-out its length, to that of unequal tension in the two sides. The driving side is tight, while the other is loose, the former having gained as much tension as the latter has lost, and the sum of the two being practically equal to the sum of the tensions in the two sides of the belt when at rest. This is not strictly true, as will be shown later; but it is sufficiently accurate to form a good basis for the practical design, at least of slow-speed belts.

This condition of tight and slack sides is made possible by the fact that the belt, in being wrapped around the pulleys under tension, has friction on their surfaces. Thus, we can pull hard on one side without slipping the belt around the pulleys, but could not do this if the pulleys were perfectly smooth or frictionless, for in that case the slightest pull on one side would slip the belt around the pulleys. In fact, it would be impossible to produce any pull by means of the driving pulley, for the pulley would merely slip around inside the belt.

The amount of pull we can apply to the belt is therefore limited by the tension at which the belt slips around the pulley. Moreover, since the force of friction between the belt and pulley is dependent upon the normal force with which the belt is pressed against the pulley, and the coefficient of friction between the two, it is evident that the tighter the belt is laced up, and the rougher the surfaces of the pulley and belt, the greater is the force that can be transmitted through the belt. This leads to the conclusion that it would be possible to transmit any amount of power through any belt however small, if the belt were only laced up tight enough.

This conclusion is literally true; but the important fact now comes in, that the strength of the material of which the belt is made is limited, and while theoretically we might be able to accomplish the above, it would be impossible to do so in practice, for at a certain point the belt would break under the strain. Other practical considerations also come in, which fix this limit of power transmission at a point far below the breaking strength of the material.

The complete analysis is not quite as simple as the above, especially for high-speed belts. When the driving side of the belt becomes tight, it stretches and grows longer; and at the same time the other side of the belt becomes slack and grows shorter. But it is not true that the increase in the one side is the same as the decrease in the other, and this fact produces the condition that the sum of the tensions in motion is not quite the same as the sum of the tensions at rest.

Again, when the belt, as it passes around the pulley, changes its straight-line direction to circular motion, each particle of the belt - like a body whirling at the end of a cord about a center of rotation - tends by centrifugal force to fly away from the surface of the pulley, thereby decreasing the normal pressure, and hence the friction. This centrifugal force also changes somewhat the tensions in the belt between the pulleys. As the centrifugal force increases in proportion to the square of the linear velocity, it is evident that the effect is greater at high speeds than at moderate or low speeds.

A further circumstance that affects the driving power of a belt is the stiffness of the leather or other material of which the belt is made. As it passes around the pulley, the belt is bent to conform to the circumference of the pulley, and is again straightened out as it leaves the pulley. Hence the theoretically perfect action is modified somewhat according to the sharpness of the bending and the thickness or flexibility of the belt; in other words, a small pulley carrying a thick -belt would be the worst case for successful calculation on a theoretical basis.