Gates Belts & Applications - Tips and guidelines written by Gates Industrial Engineers

Belt Drive Design Tension Ratios

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

posted by Michelle at 10:07 AM

As they operate, belt drives use span tension differentials to create a net effective pull. The two belt spans are defined as the tight side span (higher tension value) and the slack side span (lower tension value). The drive loads, as well as installation tension, impact the span tensions.

The tension ratio is defined as:

Tension Ratio = Tight Side Span Tension (lb) / Slack Side Span Tension (lb)

Based on different operating characteristics, belt drives types have different design tension ratios. Assuming 180° wrap on both pulleys, here are some typical design tension ratios:
  • 4:1 for Micro-V® Belt Drives
  • 5:1 for V-belt Drives
  • 8:1 for Synchronous Belt Drives
Assuming other drive parameters to be equal, larger tension ratios result in lower belt pull values.  

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