Working and effectiveness of a propeller shaft

A propeller shaft is a component in automobile engines that transmit power from the gearbox to the differential. it also used in a boat and flying machine. The shaft is also known as driveshaft, driving shaft, tail shaft or even Cardan shaft.


What is a Propeller Shaft?

Propeller shafts are also said to be a mechanical component that transmits torque and rotation. it’s used to connect other component and drive train that cannot be connected due to distance.

working of a propeller shaft

A propeller shaft is also widely used in the marine, aviation etc. for the same purpose.

The shaft must be strong enough to bear the stress as its experience torsion and shear stress during the transmission. The load-bearing is equivalent to the difference between the input torque and the load.

Read: Components of an automobile engine

There is some supportive component in a vehicle which a propeller shaft relies on. These components include universal joints, jaw couplings, or rag joints.

So, the function of a propeller shaft is to transmit the power created by the engine from the gearbox to the rear axle. This is achieved with the help of a universal joint.

Video below shows the working of a propeller shaft:

Requirement and design of a propeller shaft:

A functional propeller shaft must have the following:

  • High torsional strength: a propeller shaft must be made of a solid or hollow circular cross-section.
  • Reduced thrust loads: as resonance is not good for the shaft life. It transmits excessive dynamic force to the shaft’s end supports. It occurrence must be stopped.
  • Toughened and hardened: it must be made from high-quality steel and are induction hardened.
  • Dynamically balanced: balance is one major requirement of propeller shaft as whirling may be critical at higher speeds. The balancing test of the propeller shaft is carried out on an electronic balancing machine.
  • Efficiency joined: propeller shafts are generally welded by submerged which are carbon dioxide welding process.

Diagram of a propeller shaft:

diagram of a propeller shaft

Major parts of the propeller shaft

Below are the parts of propeller shaft:

  • Universal joints: the function of this part is to transfers the engine’s torque to the rear axle.
  • Splines: the splines are located at the ends of the shaft in the sleeve. Its function is to permits the length variation between the driving and the driven unit to vary slightly. It also prevents the input and output bearings from damaging.
  • Flange; it serves as supports to the propeller shaft and gearbox joint.
  • The main bearing: also support and guide the propeller shaft.

Read: Types of automobile engine

Types of driveshafts

In a vehicle, a longitudinal shaft is used to deliver power from an engine/ transmission to the other end of the vehicle. A pair of short drive shafts are commonly used to send power to some other component before reaching the wheel. Below are the various drive shafts used in an automobile engine:

Single-piece shaft: is used in a vehicle with a short distance between the engine and axles. Usually four-wheel-drive vehicles. Friction welding is done at the junction improve the strength, quality, and durability of the junction.

Two-piece/three-piece propeller shaft: is used in vehicles with a long distance between the engine and axles. Also, in the front-engine front-drive base which is four-wheel-drive vehicles.

The section of the propeller shaft into two- or three parts allows the critical number of revolution to reduce or prevent vibration issue from occurring.

Read: Applications of diesel engine

That’s it for this article, “propeller shaft definition, types, working principle parts as well as design”. I hope the knowledge is attained, if so, comment share and recommend this site to other technical students. Thanks!

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