Patent Number: 6,332,519

Title: Rolling-element clutch assembly

Abstract: A rolling-element clutch assembly including a first race member, a second race member and a plurality of rolling elements. The first race member defines a first race surface having a first ratchet surface portion. The second race member defines a second race surface having a second ratchet surface portion. The first race surface and the second race surface define a raceway therebetween. A plurality of rolling elements are disposed in the raceway. The rolling elements provide rolling support between the first race member and the second race member when the first race member moves in a first direction relative to the second race member. At least one of the plurality of rolling elements engages the first and second ratchet surface portions when the first race member moves in a second direction relative to the second race member. The engagement of the rolling element with the first and second ratchet surfaces impedes relative motion between the first race member and the second race member, thereby providing load transmission capability. The profile of each sawtooth incline may be formed from one or more flat planes. A rolling element separator may be provided, the separator allowing the rolling elements to freely roll when the first race member moves in a first direction relative to the second race member and to freely pivot into engagement with or disengagement from the ratchet surfaces when the first race member moves in a second direction relative to the second race member.

Inventors: Roberts; John Edward (Los Altos, CA)

Assignee: General Dynamics Government Systems

International Classification: F16D 41/12 (20060101); F16D 41/00 (20060101); F16D 041/061 ()

Expiration Date: 12/25/2018