Seven(7) Silent Chain Fundamentals

Center Guide Silent Chain and Sprockets
Center Guide Silent Chain and Sprockets

All silent chains are made up of stacked rows of flat, tooth shaped driving links that mesh with sprockets having compatible tooth spaces, much the way a rack and pinion mesh. Typically, chains will also contain guide links, whose purpose is to maintain proper tracking of the chain on sprockets. Washers or spacers may be present in some chain constructions. All of these components are held together by riveted pins located in each chain joint. Although all silent chains have these basic features there are still many many different styles, designs, and configurations.

Given the many possible variations in silent chain design it is important to understand some of the options that are available.

Note: Chains must always be accompanied by compatible sprockets. When considering different silent chain designs, it is essential that sprocket compatibility also be considered.

Click on a Selection

  1. Power Transmission or Conveying Chain?
  2. Center Guide, Side Guide, or Two Center Guides?
  3. Two Pin or Single Pin Joints?
  4. Pitch?
  5. Width?
  6. Duplex?
  7. Build Type, also known as "Buildup"

2) Center Guide, Side Guide or Two Center Guide?

Typical Guide Link
Typical Guide Link
The guide links which maintain chain tracking on sprockets may be located within the chain(center guide) or along the outer edges of the chain(side guide). A chain with two rows of guide links within the chain is referred to as Two Center Guide. In many applications, any of these guide types will be satisfactory but it is essential that sprockets be selected with same guide type as the chain. In rare instances a chain may contain no guides and special flanged sprockets are required to maintain chain tracking.


Center Guide
Center Guide
Two Center Guide
Two Center Guide
Side Guide
Side Guide