Centrifugal Governors

The centrifugal governors are based on the balancing of centrifugal force on the rotating balls by an equal and opposite radial force, known as the controlling force. Centrifugal governor consists of two balls of equal mass, which are attached to the arms as shown in Fig. 5.1. These balls are known as governor balls or fly balls. The balls revolve with a spindle, which is driven by the engine through bevel gears.

The upper ends of the arms are pivoted to the spindle, so that the balls may rise up or fall down as they revolve about the vertical axis. The arms are connected by the links to a sleeve, which is keyed to the spindle. This sleeve revolves with the spindle; but can slide up and down. The balls and the sleeve rises when the spindle speed increases, and falls when the speed decreases. In order to limit the travel of the sleeve in upward and downward directions, two stops S, S are provided on the spindle. The sleeve is connected by a bell crank lever to a throttle valve. The supply of the working fluid decreases when the sleeve rises and increases when it falls. When the load on the engine increases, the engine and the governor speed decreases. This results in the decrease of centrifugal force on the balls. Hence the balls move inwards and the sleeve moves downwards.

The downward movement of the sleeve operates a throttle valve at the other end of the bell crank lever to increase the supply of working fluid and thus the engine speed is increased. In this case, the extra power output is provided to balance the increased load. When the load on the engine decreases, the engine and the governor speed increases, which results in the increase of centrifugal force on the balls. Thus the balls move outwards and the sleeve rises upwards. This upward movement of the sleeve reduces the supply of the working fluid and hence the speed is decreased. In this case, the power output is reduced. The controlling force is provided either by the action of gravity as in Watt governor or by a spring as in case of Hartnell governor.

A governor controls engine speed. As it rotates, the weights swing outwards, pulling down a spindle that reduces the fuel supply at high speed. When the balls rotate at uniform speed, controlling force is equal to the centrifugal force and they balance each other.

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