Finite Element Analysis (FEA) has been performed on variety of a driveshaft and universal joints based on different shaft materials and shaft different operating angles. A driveshaft is particularly useful in applications such as taking of transferring torque from one piece of equipment to the other such as in vehicle of all kinds. A driveshaft transfers torque from the transmission to the rear end differential since these two pieces of equipment cannot be connected directly. The driveshaft has universal joints located on both ends of the shaft to allow for fluctuations in the angle of the transmission and rear differential. The driveshaft alone is composed of two parts, a female and male end, connected by a spline to allow changes in the length during operation. The driveshaft must be able to withstand the constant torque that is being applied throughout operation in order to increase safety for the operator and machine. Having a lower polar moment of inertia allows the driveshaft to turn with a lower torque value compared to a driveshaft with a higher moment of inertia. It is noted that driveshaft can be manufactured into a variety of lengths and diameters depending on the use and equipment it will be supporting. This paper describes a method of finite element implemented on variations of driveshaft and universal joints. Effect of material properties, geometry and operating angle of the driveshaft were considered for this numerical investigation. Five different materials such as structural steel, aluminum alloy, polyethylene, titanium, and carbon fiber with an outer diameter of 1.5 in of the driveshaft was used for this analysis. The effect of both metals and composite materials was observed.
Based on the analysis it was found that a 15° operating angle allowed for the longest life cycle of the driveshaft, while the carbon fiber composite presented the highest stress resistance and safety factor, approximately 6 GPa of yield tensile strength and a safety factor of 15. It was also found that titanium had an equivalent safety factor of 15. However, the tensile yield strength of titanium was much lower than that of its composite counterpart. All of the numerical experimentation was done using the Finite Element Analysis software ANSYS. Material properties for all materials were preset in the software except the composite carbon fiber whose properties were easily found from other research papers and experiments. Based on the data collected and the general assumptions that the most effective drive shaft is the one that lasts the longest. It can be concluded that a driveshaft made of carbon fiber operating at an angle of 15° presents the optimum driveshaft design.