The propeller shaft connects the transmission shaft to the pinion shaft at the wheel axle. The propeller shaft is also called the driveline shaft or drive shaft. The propeller shaft carries the power from the engine, clutch and transmission unit to the driving wheels of the vehicle, through the final drive and differential unit.
Functions of the propeller shaft
In most automotive vehicles, the engine is located at the front and the rear wheels of the vehicle are being driven. This arrangement stipulates a longer propeller shaft to be used. In some arrangements, two or three propeller shafts are used to make up the length.
Further, whenever the rear wheels encounter irregularities in the road, the rear axle housing moves up and down, compressing and expanding the suspension springs. As this happens, the angle between the transmission output shaft and the propeller shaft changes. Further, the length to be occupied by the propeller shaft also changes.
The rear axle housing moves in a shorter arc than that of the propeller shaft. This is because the center of the rear axle housing arc is the point of attachment of the rear spring or control arm to the vehicle frame. This aspect causes a reduction in the length occupied by the propeller shaft as the angle between the transmission and the propeller shaft increases.
The propeller shaft does the following functions:
1. It transmits the rotary motion of the gearbox output shaft to the differential and then to the wheels through the axle shafts.
2. It transmits motion at an angle which is varying frequently.
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