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Clearance and interference coupling fits: Tips on when to use and how to determine tolerances

  • July 2009
  • Number of views: 2230
  • Article rating: 4.0

Tom Bishop, P.E. 
EASA Technical Support Specialist 

Couplings (see Figure 1) for connecting shafts can be placed in two categories: keyed and keyless. Similarly, the fits of couplings to shafts can be categorized as clearance or interference. A keyless coupling arrangement will always have an in­terference fit, while a keyed arrange­ment may have either a clearance or an interference fit. This article will focus on determining when to use a clearance or an interference fit, and how to obtain the tolerances for the resulting fit. Since we are dealing with existing shafts and couplings, the category of keyed or keyless has already been established and will not be considered. 

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