Worm Gears

A worm is a gear that resembles a screw. A worm is usually meshed with an ordinary looking, disk-shaped gear, which is called the "gear", the "wheel", the "worm gear", or the "worm wheel". The prime feature of a worm-and-gear set is that it allows the attainment of a high gear ratio with few parts, in a small space.

Worm gears are used when large gear reductions are needed. Many worm gears have an interesting property that no other gear set has: the worm can easily turn the gear, but the gear cannot turn the worm. This is because the angle on the worm is so shallow that when the gear tries to spin it, the friction between the gear and the worm holds the worm in place. This feature is useful for machines such as conveyor systems, in which the locking feature can act as a brake for the conveyor when the motor is not turning.


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