Efficiency of Chain & Sprocket vs. V-belt and Pulley

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There is no simple answer to your question. When you get up into the hundreds of horsepower, multiple V-belts have several advantages if precise timing is not a factor. V-belts are quiet and don't require lubrication and have a certain degree of shock dampening. Chains, on the other hand, require constant lubrication and, at higher speeds, the effect of centrifugal force on the chain can become a problem. The chain wants to become a circle and puts an enormous pull on the sprockets. Do you have a particular application in mind?
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At low speeds bicycle chains in good condition are reputed to be 98-99% efficient.
The efficiency of V belts is 94-97% according to the Bosch blue book.
At higher speeds, and low loads, the GM SunRaycer team estimated or measured a timing belt at 90% efficient.
Greg Locock
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Greg Locock

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