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What is a sprocket ?  

A mechanical sprocket is a type of gear (often the smaller of the two gears) used in motion transmission systems. 

There are two elements to these mechanical parts: the teeth and the body. They are designed to mesh with other elements, such as another pinion, a chain or a rack, to transmit rotary motion or convert rotary motion into linear motion.

The teeth are designed to fit precisely into the gaps between the teeth of the gear with which it engages. This ensures smooth power transmission.
The sprocket body, where the teeth are attached, is made from a strong material to withstand the forces transmitted during gearing.

The transmission of motion via sprockets is highly precise, which is crucial for applications requiring motion control.

Sprockets are designed to be strong and able to withstand heavy loads, so they are generally more efficient at transmitting power than other methods, such as belts or chains alone.

To ensure their longevity and smooth operation, sprockets require regular maintenance, which may include lubrication, inspection of teeth for wear, and replacement in the event of damage. 
Perfect tooth alignment is just as important as good maintenance.

Sprockets can be found in this transmission role on various components: cars, motorcycles or bicycles, they enable gear changes as well as power optimization.

A sprocket can also be used to transmit motion through a shaft, to modify rotation speed or adapt torque.

They are found in hoisting systems (winches, cranes, elevators), where they interact with racks or chains to raise or lower loads.

Different types of sprockets 

Sprockets come in a variety of shapes and sizes, most commonly single, double, triple or module sprockets, with 12, 17 or 25 teeth. 

The higher the speed, the greater the number of teeth. The fewer teeth on a sprocket, the greater the load on the teeth.                                         
The choice of sprocket depends on the power transmission required and the speed of the chain.

The single sprocket is the most common type of sprocket. It consists of a single row of teeth that mesh with another gear, chain or rack. Its simple design makes it ideal for most power transmission applications where a single ratio is required.

The duplex sprocket has two rows of teeth, enabling it to engage simultaneously with two parallel gears, chains or racks. It offers greater flexibility and increased capacity in the transmission of motion. 
Duplex sprockets are used in more complex transmission systems, such as industrial machinery.

The triplex sprocket has three rows of teeth, enabling interaction with three separate elements.
This is the least common of the three, used in advanced industrial applications where several transmissions need to be synchronized, or where the load must be distributed over several points (reducing wear and improving reliability).