The driveshafts is part of the transmission components and it transmits the energy generated by the engine to the wheels.

Through the constant velocity joint, the driveshaft also allows steering while adjusting suspension movements and isolating vibrations.

In terms of definition, driveshafts – also known as drive shafts, driveshaft, driving shaft, propeller shaft (prop shaft), or Cardan shaft are shafts is a car or other vehicle that are built to transfer power from the gear box to the wheel. Bascially, the driveshafts can therefore be described as shafts able to transmit mechanical power.

This mechanical component for transmitting torque and rotation is usually used as a connection to other components of a drive train that cannot be connected directly. This inability is due to the distance or the need to allow for a relative movements between the various parts involved.

Driveshafts, as torque carriers, are subjected to:

  • Torsion: the twisting of an object due to an applied torque
  • Shear stress: the component of stress coplanar with a material cross section

Torsion and shear stress are equivalent to the difference between the input torque and the load. In practical terms, that means that driveshafts must be strong enough to tolerate the stress and, at the same time, avoid an excess of additional weight that would increase their inertia.

Driveshafts are also required to allow for variations in the alignment and distance between the driving and driven components, and that’s why they often incorporate one or several universal joints, jaw couplings, or rag joints. Driveshafts can also sometimes include a splined joint or prismatic joint.

When used on automobiles, driveshafts can be longitudinal in order to deliver power from an engine and/or transmission to the other end of the vehicle before it goes to the wheels. A pair of short driveshafts is normally used to send power from a central differential, transmission, or transaxle to the wheels.

What are the type of driveshafts used in the automotive industry?

  • One-piece drive shaft
  • Two-piece drive shaft
  • Slip-in-tube drive shaft

In this list should also be include the so-called “slip-in-tube driveshaft, designed to increase crash safety, and that can be compressed to absorb energy in the event of a crash. It is also known with the denomination of collapsible drive shaft.

Download the "Driveshafts 2016" catalogue by General Ricambi

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