Drive shafts

Lightweighted drive shafts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics for the aerospace industry

Drive shafts are used in aerospace engineering for example in turbines and flap drives or for helicopter rotors.    

What is required for these applications is not only the lightweighting aspect, but also high torsional and flexural rigidity for the perfect responsiveness and high strength of the composite in the regions where forces are transmitted. In addition, depending on the type of use, the shaft body must possess a certain flexibility in order to compensate natural movements of the structural hull in flight operations.

Cases that require a particularly fine adjustment of shaft characteristics can be solved by using a CFRP shank. Our T-Igel® metal connection provides the necessary strength in the transmission of forces. 

TEUFELBERGER develops and manufactures custom-optimized composite drive shafts having lengths of up to 4.5 m, with metallic flanges of adhesive-bonded, riveted and T-Igel® design for the transmission of forces.

The in-house manufacturing technologies (braiding, winding, RTM, T-Igel®) and the extensive database for characteristic values of various fiber structures help us come up with optimized solutions for CFRP shafts featuring superior component properties. Our experience in component dimensioning and FE calculation supports these processes. 

Shafts braided with carbon fibers are particularly well-suited for the requirements of flight operations, where a high damage tolerance for impact events is needed. Due to fiber ondulations, the attainable torsional rigidity levels are slightly below CFRP shafts made in UD fiber architectures. However, because a high fiber content can be introduced in the direction of the longitudinal component axis, it is possible to optimize flexural rigidity especially for long rotor shafts.

Relying on metallic molds and light structural cores, the RTM process offers the advantage of creating a particularly high degree of straightness along the length of the shank. Furthermore, in the RTM process it is possible to also introduce additional metallic elements (e.g. bearing collars) along the CFRP shaft body. Local textile reinforcement structures (e.g., UD fabrics) make it possible to locally adjust specific properties. And then there is our T-Igel® technology that excels not only through its high connection strengths, but also through the simple and cost-effective integration of shaft end pieces made of steel, aluminum, or titanium.   

Another advantage is that CFRP shafts do not corrode and, unlike metallic shafts, will not experience changes in length at varying temperatures. This contributes to safety and keeps the noise to a minimum!