Composite Prop-shafts and Transmission Shafts

Motorsport and Automotive prop-shafts: The typical requirements of an automotive prop-shaft are driven by the rotational speed (whirling), torque rating and temperature. Lentus works with flexible manufacturing processes to make the composite satisfy these requirements. Prop-shafts usually need articulation at both ends and Lentus can incorporate universal joints, constant velocity joints, flexible couplings or the proprietary SuperFlex™ coupling, or where the shaft is housed in a torque tube, splined fittings can be utilised. A typical GT style prop-shaft with SuperflexDisc™  couplings can save up to 80% of the weight of a metallic alternative. Because of the low density and high modulus of carbon fibre composite shafts it is possible to span longer lengths at higher speeds than with conventional metallic shafts. It is often possible to replace a two piece shaft with a single piece shaft making huge weight savings and bringing dynamic improvements to the vehicle and improved NVH. Lentus has developed a metal to composite joining technology to allow drive-shafts (half shafts) to be produced in composite materials.

SuperFlex™ Transmission Couplings: SuperFlex™ is a family of flexible transmission couplings for shafts designed to accommodate moderate misalignments in the transmission system. They are available in a range of sizes and torque ratings to suit most applications. A typical motorsport SuperFlex™ coupling would have a PCD of 95mm or 110mm and a torque rating of between 1500Nm for a transaxle installation to 4000Nm for an inline gearbox applications. SuperFlex™ transmission couplings allow for up to 1.5° of misalignment at each end.

Aerospace Transmission Shafts: These shafts tend to be lower torque shafts used in the high lift actuation systems or other actuation systems on an aircraft. Shafts for these systems are designed with weight, performance, reliability, durability and environmental stability in mind. All of these criteria must be satisfied in order to meet the demands of aerospace applications and Lentus has the design and development experience and the testing capabilities to support a full qualification programme. There are many other aerospace applications including power take off shafts, drive shafts for rotor winged aircraft as well as a host of other actuation shaft applications.

Large Transmission Shafts: Lentus has produced shafts for large industrial applications where the driving factors have been weight, performance and reliability but also adding key factors such as torsional stiffness and damping to take shock loads out of a system, typical large shafts are rated to several hundred kNm. This is sometimes in addition to satisfying electrical requirement to ensure that the shafts are electrically insulating where the shafts are used in electric drive systems or power generation.