Development of drive shafts

Drive shafts form part of drive trains for mobility systems, machines and other equipment. They represent an especially worthwhile area of application for innovative lightweight solutions due to the resultant reductions in both mass and moments of inertia, which in turn have a positive influence on energy efficiency and response. The two-dimensional loading of the basic body of a drive shaft renders the use of fibre-reinforced polymers particularly beneficial, as the fibres can be aligned according to the main direction of stress. The targeted adjustment of natural frequencies and damping is also possible within a particular range. The high specific stiffness of carbon fibre-reinforced polymers (CFRP) makes it possible to increase the distance between bearings and therefore either forego intermediate bearings or redesign the machine driven by the camshaft. In addition to the classical winding technique, we are also able to base the development of these types of high-tech components on a highly productive braiding technique and a number of novel combined techniques.

Selected reasons to use drive shafts made of fibre-polymer composites

  • Potential weight saving in comparison with classical metal shafts (over 50 % in the case of classical multi-material shafts, up to 80 % in the case of cardan shafts with integrated clevises)
  • Low density makes it possible to increase critical bending speed/length, thus leading to higher performance and permitting wider spacing between bearings (one-piece longitudinal shaft)
  • Adjustable mechanical and acoustic characteristics throughout the fibre architecture
  • Material-inherent damping and corrosion resistance

Composite Radial Drive Shaft for Aircraft Engines

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Range and areas of application

Depending on the type of fibre used, fibre-reinforced polymer composites differ from metallic materials in that they offer the opportunity to influence the structural behaviour of a component in terms of its stiffness, strength, damping and frequency behaviour.

Shaft composition and specific challenges

The challenge is to ensure the optimum adjustment of the various areas in terms of their performance, functionality and cost. The materials, manufacturing process and load application concept used therefore have an essential role to play.

Comparison between manufacturing options

Detailed assessment of suitable manufacturing processes in terms of achievable batch sizes plays a considerable part in the successful implementation of any novel technology.

Our service portfolio

  • Development of concepts and the assessment thereof against customer requirements
  • Selection of suitable materials and manufacturing processes
  • Studies into potential areas of application with the aid of FE simulation
  • Detailed engineering of load application areas
  • Manufacturing of prototypes using a variety of techniques and materials
  • Torsion testing of drive shafts with the aid of optical measuring techniques
  • Analysis of manufacturing quality using computer tomography
  • Determination of bending frequency behaviour by means of modal analysis with the aid of a vibrometer

Contact person:
Dipl.-Ing. Kai Steinbach

+49 351 446960-10