Shafts are key parts of many systems and very popular parts for many industries. From automotive to aerospace industries, shafts are mostly used to transmit rotational motion between two components. In the automotive industry, drive shafts used to transfer power from the differential to the wheel of the vehicle, and for each driving wheel, there is a shaft.
Conventional Metal Shafts
Depending on the torque and strength characteristic, steel and aluminum shafts are mostly preferred in most applications. However, steel shafts can make automotive systems very heavy and thus very fuel-consuming. The cylindrical hollow shape can adapt almost every system to operate properly.
Considering the aluminum shafts, aluminum can reduce the weight of the system but due to the limited strength, they cannot resist much torque and stress. Moreover, some rotational systems and mechanisms work in high temperatures, for example, in automotive vehicles, aluminum has high strain rates, therefore can cause high deformations in these systems.
Since shafts are primarily subjected to torsional and bending loads, torsional characteristics are a prerequisite for replacing traditional metallic shafts with composite materials. The design of the composites, with their higher specific elastic modulus, which in carbon/epoxy exceeds four times that of aluminum, enables the replacement of the two-piece metal shaft with a single-component composite shaft.
Composite shafts are resistant to corrosion and therefore special treatments are not necessary for corrosion and similar wear problems. In addition, because of the low weight of the composite, systems become low fuel consumption and environment friendly.
Another important point for the shafts is the natural frequency and vibration. Since the shaft works in a dynamic rotary system, vibration and damping must be taken into account. Carbon fiber epoxy shafts can overcome the vibration problem and perform high damping ratios over vibration.
Filament Winding for Composite Shafts
Carbon fiber epoxy shaft can meet high properties and required operational prerequisites with proper manufacturing method. Orientations and fiber resin ratio must be considered in order to achieve high rotation rates and high mechanical characteristics. Therefore, filament winding is an ideal method to manufacture composite drive shafts for the industry.
Filament wound composite shafts can perform long fatigue life and high torque transmissions with adequate fiber orientations. Automated filament winders can manufacture composite shafts in different diameters and rotational angles easily and cost-effectively.
Basically, composite shafts can provide various advantages to the systems:
- Reduced weight and low fuel consuming
- Increased torque capacity and mechanical strength
- Long fatigue life and safety
- High vibration stability
- Low cost and environmentally friendly