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English: Lord Kelvin patented this brake in 1858. It consists of a rope or cord wrapped round the circumference of a rotating wheel, to one end of which is applied a regulated force, the other end being fixed to a spring balance. The ropes are spaced laterally by the blocks B, B, B, B, which also serve to prevent them from slipping sideways. When the wheel is turning in the direction indicated, the forces holding the band still are W, and p, the observed pull on the spring balance. Both these forces usually act at the same radius R, the distance from the axis to the centre line of the rope, in which case the torque T is (W ? p)R, and consequently the brake horse-power is [(W ? p)R × 2?N] / 33,000. When ? changes the weight W rises or falls against the action of the spring balance until a stable condition of running is obtained. The ratio W/p is given by e??, where e = 2.718; ? is the coefficient of friction and ? the angle, measured in radians, subtended by the arc of contact between the rope and the wheel. In fig. 2 ? = 2?. The ratio W/p increases very rapidly as ? is increased, and therefore, by making ? sufficiently large, p may conveniently be made a small fraction of W, thereby rendering errors of observation of the spring balance negligible. Thus this kind of brake, though cheap to make, is, when ? is large enough, an exceedingly accurate measuring instrument, readily applied and easily controlled. It has come into very general use in recent years, and had (by 1911) practically superseded the older forms of block brakes.
|Source||Encyclopædia Britannica, 1911|
|Author||Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 8, Slice 9., available freely at Project Gutenberg|
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