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Design of Composite Transmission Shaft and Composite-Metal Interference Fit Joint



Nowadays, energy saving is one of the most important targets in vehicle design and it can be effectively achieved by decreasing weight of automobile structures and components. Ubiquitously known, there is a direct relationship between vehicle’s weight and fuel consumption, so the trend of weight reduction in modern cars is to use high-performance fiber-reinforced composite materials (FRC). Transmission shafts, used for delivering torque from power generators to driving wheels, are the components with high potential of utilizing FRC, since they require materials possessing high specific strength and stiffness under intensive mechanical loads. However, researches on the small-dimension shaft composed of FRC have not yet been sufficiently conducted and published in the literature. This paper presents designs of composite transmission shaft and the interference fit joint with the steel component. The shaft comprises of three sections, i.e., the steel plug, steel sleeve and the composite tube. The carbon fiber-reinforced epoxy and E-glass fibre-reinforced epoxy are used for the composite tube to transfer high-torsional loads, while its end plug and sleeve are made from steel. The interference fit joint, between the shaft tube, the sleeve and the end plug, is studied in order to analyze the effect of interference, friction coefficient, and capability of torque transfer. Fiber orientations, stacking sequences, geometries and dimensions, and yield stresses in the metal parts are the concerned parameters. The considered composite transmission shafts are simulated by employing the finite element software ABAQUS™ and the resulting torque transmissibility of three joint models is illustrated. The failure modes arisen from the manufacturing and loading conditions are examined. The results provide the guideline to appropriate design composite transmission shaft, such as the orientation of fibers, dimensional constraints, and load-bearing condition.


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