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Development History

While in graduate school Terry Lester read an article about the importance and advantages of CVTs. My interest in CVTs was piqued by a statement in the article that it is physically impossible to engineer a CVT that is practical for high power applications. I took on this issue as a personal challenge and began a twenty-three year quest to develop a high torque CVT. In the mid-nineties, I recognized that the centrifugal force from a rotating mass generates high torque, spurring me to pursue the development of a new class of IVT. During the development process extensive kinematic analyses were performed, several working models were constructed, and patents were issued (U.S. Patents 6,044,718 and 6,062,096).

Go-Kart Model

A model was installed in a go-kart to demonstrate the concept. The transmission supplied smooth acceleration and high torque. Two large men attempted to hold back the go-kart from an idling position as the driver depressed the accelerator, but were unable to do so. This model had only one pair of rotatable masses; therefore, the center of gravity of the rotatable masses did not change in this model. It performed like a mechanical torque converter. Also, gears were used to transfer torque to the rotatable masses.

Improved Go-Kart Model

A second go-kart model was constructed with an improved simplified design to transmit the input torque to the rotatable masses by means of the drive yoke and links, yielding smoother performance.