What is a flywheel?

   The flywheel is a heavy wheel attached to a machine to keep the machine operating at a uniform speed. The flywheel is based on the principles of momentum and inertia: By adding weight to the moving parts of a machine, the flywheel makes the machine much less subject to sudden stops and starts than the machine would otherwise be.
   An example of the flywheel's use is hi the internal-combustion engine, in which the power is the result of a series of explosions. If the machine were light, each explosion would cause a sudden acceleration, and the machine's movements would be jerky. The inertia of the flywheel prevents the machine's being seriously affected by any one explosion; it will accelerate more slowly and operate at a more uniform speed.
   Another example is the puncher— a machine that punches holes in metal sheets or plates. When the punching mechanism encounters the metal, it suddenly encounters much resistance. The momentum of the flywheel provides additional force to aid the machine in overcoming this resistance, thereby easing the strain on the machine's motor.