4 x 4 Australia - - Gear -

LET’S now look at the same sce­nario, but this time we’ll leave the locker alone. Re­mem­ber the small gears that are free to ro­tate within the car­rier and are con­nected to each axle? Well, they en­sure the torque is dis­trib­uted evenly be­tween both axles and there’s no torque bias to ei­ther side.

You still have a po­ten­tial of 300N of re­sis­tive force of fric­tion with the side in the mud, but the side on the road will also only get 300N thanks to the small, freely­ro­tat­ing gears in the mid­dle of the diff. So that’s a to­tal of 600N. But the good news doesn’t end there.

Have you no­ticed when you’re push­ing a large heavy ob­ject like a couch it’s hard to get go­ing, but once it’s mov­ing it seems like it’s not as hard to push? Well, that’s ac­tu­ally a mea­sur­able phe­nom­e­non known as slid­ing or ki­netic co­ef­fi­cient of fric­tion, and it will be mea­sur­ably less than the static co­ef­fi­cient of fric­tion.

So now as you put the foot down and start spin­ning the wheel in the mud, the co­ef­fi­cient of fric­tion will drop from a µ of 0.3 to 0.2. Don’t for­get with an open dif­fer­en­tial the torque on one side is equal to the other, so now in­stead of 600N we’re down to 400N. In the same sce­nario we’ve gone from 1300N with a locked dif­fer­en­tial to 400N with the stan­dard open dif­fer­en­tial.

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