The driven "or friction" plate runs on a splined input shaft, through which the power is transmitted to the gearbox. The plate has friction linings, similar to brake linings, on both its faces. This allows the drive to be taken up smoothly when the clutch is engaged. When the clutch is disengaged "pedal depressed", an arm pushes a release bearing against the centre of the diaphragm spring which releases the clamping pressure. The outer part of the pressure plate, which has a large friction surface, then no longer clamps the driven plate to the flywheel, so the transmission of power is interrupted and gears can be changed.
When the clutch pedal is released, the thrust bearing is withdrawn and the diaphragm-spring load once again clamps the driven plate to the flywheel to resume the transmission of power. Some cars have a hydraulically operated clutch. Pressure on the clutch pedal inside the car activates a piston in a master cylinder, which transmits the pressure through a fluid-filled pipe to a slave cylinder mounted on the clutch housing. The slave-cylinder piston is connected to the clutch release arm.
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