Shafts: Definition, Types, And Application

What is a Shaft?

A shaft is defined as a rotating machine element, usually circular in cross-section, which is used to transmit power from one part to another, or from a machine that produces power to a machine that absorbs power.

Shaft form the important element of machines. They support rotating parts like gears and pulleys and are themselves supported by bearings resting in the rigid machine housing.

The shafts perform the function of transmitting power from one rotating member to another supported by it or connected to it. Thus, they are subjected to torque due to power transmission and bending moment due to the reactions of the members that are supported by them.

Shafts are to be distinguished from axles which also support rotating members but do not transmit power.

Shafts are always made to circular cross-sections and could be either solid or hollow. The shafts are classifieds as straight, cranked, flexible, or articulated. Straight shafts are the commonest to be used for power transmission.

Such shafts are commonly designed as stepped cylindrical bars, that is, they have various diameters along their length, although constant diameter shafts would be easy to produce. The stepped shafts correspond to the magnitude of stress which varies along the length.

Moreover, the uniform diameter shafts are not compatible with assembly, disassembly, and maintenance such shafts would complicate the fastening of the parts fitted to them, particularly the bearings, which have restricted against sliding in an axial direction.

While determining the form of the stepped shaft it is borne in mind that the diameter of each cross-section should be such that each part fitted onto the shaft has convenient access to its seat.

A shaft is defined as a rotating machine element, usually circular in cross section, which is used to transmit power from one part to another, or from a machine which produces power to a machine which absorbs power.

The Material Used for the Shafts

The material used for ordinary shafts is mild steel. When high strength is required, alloy steel such as nickel, nickel-chromium, or chromium-vanadium steel is used. Shafts are generally formed by hot rolling and finished to size by cold drawing or turning and grinding.

The material used for the shafts must have the following properties:

  • It should have high strength.
  • It should have good mechanization.
  • It should have a low-notch sensitivity factor.
  • It should have good heat treatment properties.
  • It should have high wear-resistant properties.

The materials used for regular shafts are carbon steel of grade 40 C8, 45 C8, 50 C4, and 50 C12.

Manufacturing of Shafts

Shafts are usually produced by hot rolling and are prepared for shape by cold drawing or turning and grinding. Cold-rolled shafts are stronger than hot-rolled shafts, but with higher residual stresses.

Residual stress can cause deformation of the shafts when it is mechanized, especially when slots or keys are cut. Shafts of larger diameter are usually forged and are shaped into a lathe.

Types of Shaft

Shafts are mainly classified into two types:

  • Transmission shafts are used to transmit power between the source and the machine absorbing power. e.g., countershafts, line shafts, and all factory shafts.
  • Machine shafts are an integral part of the machine itself. e.g., crankshaft
  • Axle shafts are used in vehicles.
  • A spindle shaft is a rotating shaft with a fixture for holding a tool or a workpiece.

Related: 1. What is Crankshaft? 2. What is Axle in a Car?

The Standard size of shafts are:

The standard sizes of transmission shafts are:

  • 25 mm to 60 mm with 5 mm steps
  • 60 mm to 110 mm with 10 mm steps
  • 110 mm to 140 mm with 15 mm steps and
  • 140 mm to 500 mm with 20 mm steps
  • The standard length of the shafts is 5 m, 6 m, and 7 m.

The standard sizes of Machine shafts are:

  • Up to 25 mm steps of 0.5 mm

Advantages of Shafts:

  • The shaft system is less likely to jam.
  • Less maintenance than a chain system when a tube is attached to the drive shaft.
  • A hollow shaft is a low weight than a solid shaft for the same torque transmission.
  • In the hollow shaft, the internal shape is hollow so the materials required are less.
  • The shaft is strong and it has a low failure chance.
  • High polar moment of inertia
  • High torsional strength

Disadvantages of Shafts:

  • The power loss is due to loose coupling.
  • Shafts can vibrate during rotation.
  • Produced a constant noise
  • Maintenance and manufacturing costs were high.
  • The manufacturing process is difficult.
  • The downtime was longer due to mechanical problems.
  • The use of flexible couplings, such as a leaf spring coupling, can cause a loss of velocity between shafts.
  • Changing the speed was not so easy.
  • Oil dripping from overhead shafting.

FAQs.

What is a Shaft?

A shaft is a rotating machine element with a long handle of a spear or similar weapon, usually circular in cross-section, which is used to transmit power from one rotating member to another supported by it or connected to it.

What are the types of Shafts?

Types of shafts:
1. Transmission shafts are used to transmit power between the source and the machine absorbing power. e.g., countershafts, line shafts, and all factory shafts.
2. Machine shafts are an integral part of the machine itself. e.g., crankshaft
3. Axle shafts are used in vehicles.
4. A spindle shaft is a rotating shaft with a fixture for holding a tool or workpiece.

What is the purpose of the mechanical shaft?

The term shaft usually refers to a component of a circular cross-section that rotates and transmits power from a driving device, such as a motor or engine, through a machine. Shafts can carry gears, pulleys, and sprockets to transmit rotary motion and power via mating gears, belts, and chains.

What does a mechanical shaft do?

A mechanical shaft is a mechanical power transmission element, usually circular in cross-section, either solid or hollow, which transmits torque and rotational motion from one device to another.

What is a shaft and its uses?

The term shaft usually refers to a component of a circular cross-section that rotates and transmits power from a driving device, such as a motor or engine, through a machine. Shafts can carry gears, pulleys, and sprockets to transmit rotary motion and power via mating gears, belts, and chains.

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