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A torque converter is a modified form of fluid coupling that is used to transfer rotating power from a prime mover, such as an internal combustion engine or electric motor, to a rotating driven load. Like a fluid coupling, the torque converter normally takes the place of a mechanical clutch, allowing the load to be separated from the power source. Unlike a fluid coupling, however, a torque converter is able to multiply torque when there is a substantial difference between input and output rotational speed, thus providing the equivalent of a reduction gear.
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Wikipedia article used to define terminology.