# Understanding the concept of the gear ratio

Understanding the concept of the gear ratio is easy if you understand the concept of the circumferenceof a circle. Keep in mind that the circumference of a circle is equal to the diameter of the circle multiplied by Pi (Pi is equal to 3.14159... . !herefore" if you ha#e a circle or a gear \$ith a diameter of one inch" the circumference of that circle \$ill be 3.14159 inches. !he follo\$ing figure sho\$s ho\$ the circumference of a circle \$ith a diameter of 1.%& inches is equal to a linear distance of 4 inches'

(et)s say that you had another circle \$hose diameter \$as 1.%& inches * % + ,.-35 inches" and you rolled it in the same \$ay as in this figure. .ou \$ould find that" because its diameter is one half of the circle)s in the figure" it has to complete t\$o full rotations to co#er the same 4 inch line. !his e/plains \$hy t\$o gears" one half as big as the other" ha#e a gear ratio of %'1. !he smaller gear has to spin t\$ice to co#er the same distance co#ered \$hen the larger gear spins once.
0ost gears that you see in real life ha#e teeth. !he teeth ha#e three ad#antages' 1. !hey pre#ent slippage bet\$een the gears 1 therefore a/les connected by gears are al\$ays synchroni2ed e/actly \$ith one another. %. !hey ma3e it possible to determine e/act gear ratios 1 you 4ust count the number of teeth in the t\$o gears and di#ide. 5o if one gear has -, teeth and another has %," the gear ratio \$hen these t\$o gears are connected together is 3'1. 3. !hey ma3e it so that slight imperfections in the actual diameter and circumference of t\$o gears don)t matter. !he gear ratio is controlled by the number of teeth e#en if the diameters are a bit off.

ou can see effects 1" % and 3 in the figure abo#e. 6n this figure" you can see that the t\$o gears are rotating in opposite directions" that the smaller gear is spinning t\$ice as fast as the larger gear" and that the axis of rotation of the smaller gear is to the right of the a/is of rotation for the larger gear. !he fact that one gear is spinning t\$ice as fast as the other results from the ratio bet\$een the gears" or the gear ratio. 6n this figure" the diameter of the gear on the left is t\$ice that of the gear on the right. !he gear ratio is therefore %'1 (pronounced 7t\$o to one7 . 6f you \$atch the figure you can see the ratio' 8#ery time the larger gear goes around once" the smaller gear goes around t\$ice. .ou can see that if both gears had the same diameter" they \$ould rotate at the same speed but in opposite directions.