Posts Tagged ‘angle of wrap’

Determining Angle of Wrap

Monday, July 17th, 2017

   Sometimes things which appear simple turn out to be rather complex.   Such is the case with the Euler-Eytelwein Formula, a small formula with a big job.   It computes how friction, an omnipresent phenomenon in mechanical assemblies, contributes to the transmission of mechanical power.   Today we’ll determine the value of one of the Euler-Eytelwein Formula’s variables, the angle of wrap.

Determining Angle of Wrap

Determining Angle of Wrap

   Here again is the basis for our calculations, the Euler-Eytelwein Formula.

T1 = T2 × eθ)                                                                 (1)

   To recap what we’ve discussed thus far, T1 is the tight side tension, the maximum the belt can endure before breaking.   T2 is the loose side tension.   It’s just going along for the ride.   The term e is Euler’s Number, a constant equal to 2.718, and the coefficient of friction, μ, for contact points between the belt and pulleys is 0.3 based on their materials.

   The formula introduced last time to calculate the angle of wrap, θ, is,

θ = (1802α) × (π  ÷ 180)                                             (2)


α = sin-1((D1 – D2) ÷ 2x)                                                 (3)

   By direct measurement we’ve determined the pulleys’ diameters, D1 and D2, are equal to 1 foot and 0.25 feet respectively.   The term x is the distance between the two pulley shafts, 3 feet.   The term sin-1 is a trigonometric function known as inverse sine, a button commonly found on scientific calculators.

   Inserting our known values into equation (3) we arrive at,

α = sin-1((1.0 foot – 0.25 feet) ÷ 2 × (3 feet))                  (4)

α = 7.18                                                                        (5)

   We can now incorporate equation (5) into equation (2) to solve for θ,

θ = (180(2 × 7.18)) × (π ÷ 180)                                  (6)

θ = 2.89                                                                         (7)

   Inserting the values for m and θ into equation (1) we arrive at,

T1 = T2 × 2.718(0.3 × 2.89)                                               (8)

T1 = 2.38T2                                                                    (9)

   We have at this point solved for over half of the unknown variables in the Euler-Eytelwein Formula.   We still can’t solve for T1, because we don’t know the value of T2.   But that will change next time when we introduce yet another formula, this one to determine the amount of mechanical power present in our pulley-belt system.



Copyright 2017 – Philip J. O’Keefe, PE

Engineering Expert Witness Blog



The Angle of Wrap Formula

Wednesday, July 5th, 2017

    Last time we introduced a scenario involving a hydroponics plant powered by a gas engine and multiple pulleys.   Connecting the pulleys is a flat leather belt.  Today we’ll take a step further towards determining what width that belt needs to be to maximize power transmission efficiency.   We’ll begin by revisiting the two T’s of the Euler-Eytelwein Formula and introducing a formula to determine a key variable, angle of wrap.

 The Angle of Wrap Formula

The Angle of Wrap Formula

    We must start by calculating T1, the tight side tension of the belt, which is the maximum tension the belt is subjected to.   We can then calculate the width of the belt using the manufacturer’s specified safe working tension of 300 pounds per inch as a guide.   But first we’ll need to calculate some key variables in the Euler-Eytelwein Formula, which is presented here again,

T1 = T2× eθ)                                                       (1)

    We determined last time that the coefficient of friction, μ, between the two interfacing materials of the belt and pulley are, respectively, leather and cast iron, which results in a factor of 0.3.

    The other factor shown as a exponent of e is the angle of wrap, θ, and is calculated by the formula,

θ = (1802α) × (π ÷ 180)                                     (2)

    You’ll note that this formula contains some unique terms of its own, one of which is familiar, namely π, the other, α, which is less familiar.   The unnamed variable α is used as shorthand notation in equation (2), to make it shorter and more manageable.   It has no particular significance other than the fact that it is equal to,

α = sin-1((D1 – D2) ÷ 2x)                                       (3)

If we didn’t use this shorthand notation for α, equation (2) would be written as,

θ = (1802(sin-1((D1 – D2) ÷ 2x))) × (π ÷ 180)      (3a)

That’s a lot of parentheses!

    Next week we’ll get into some trigonometry when we discuss the diameters of the pulleys, which will allow us to solve for the angle of wrap.


Copyright 2017 – Philip J. O’Keefe, PE

Engineering Expert Witness Blog