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"

5) Width?
Silent chain widths can range from less than 1 inch to over 20 inches. As width increases, so does cost, so it is most economical to choose the smallest width suitable for the application at hand. Whenever possible it is also advisable to choose from stock or standard widths rather than specifying a width that must be specially ordered.

Overall width is often referred to as the “width over heads” or “width over rivets”. “Width between guides” is an important dimension for side guide chains

Width Over Heads
Width Between Guides