Cone clutch consists of friction surfaces in the form of cone. The engine shaft consists of female cone. The male cone is mounted on the splined clutch shaft. It has friction surfaces on the conical portion. The male cone can slide on the clutch shaft. Hen the clutch is engaged the friction surfaces of the male cone are in contact with that of the female cone due to force of the spring. When the clutch pedal is pressed, the male cone slides against the spring force and the clutch is disengaged.
The only advantage of the cone clutch is that the normal force acting on the friction surfaces is greater than the axial force, as compare to the single plate clutch in which the normal force acting on the friction surfaces is equal to the axial force. The disadvantage in cone clutch is that if the angle of the cone is made smaller than 200 the male cone tends to bind in the female cone and it becomes difficult to disengage the clutch. Cone clutches are generally now only used in low peripheral speed applications although they were once common in automobiles and other combustion engine transmissions. They are usually now confined to very specialist transmissions in racing, rallying, or in extreme off-road vehicles, although they are common in power boats. Small cone clutches are used in synchronizer mechanisms in manual transmissions.