Cardan Shaft

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Cardan shaft

[′kär‚dan ‚shaft]
(mechanical engineering)
A shaft with a universal joint at its end to accommodate a varying shaft angle.

Cardan Shaft


(named for G. Cardano), a device in motor vehicles for the transmission of rotation from a driving shaft to a driven shaft when the shafts are at an angle to one another. The angle and distance between the shafts often change continuously during operation.

In motor vehicles, a Cardan shaft is used to connect the motor and transmission (at an angle of up to 5°), the transmission and transfer case (at an angle of up to 5°), and the transmission or transfer case and the rear-axle drive (at an angle of up to 15°), as well as in steering gear or winch drive.

A Cardan shaft consists of a propeller shaft with two (less frequently one) Cardans. If the propeller shaft is connecting mechanisms between which the angle and distance vary (for example, the transmission and rear-axle drive of a motor vehicle), overhang balance is provided in the form of a slip splined joint, which makes possible a change in the length of the shaft within set limits. Depending on the angle between the propeller shafts in a Cardan shaft, rigid or flexible semi-Cardan joints, full Cardans of unequal angular velocity, or Cardans of equal angular velocity may be used. Full Cardans, which have two jaws, needle bearings, a spider, mounts for the spider journals, and a tightening mechanism, are the most commonly used type. The efficiency of a single Cardan is 0.985–0.99.


Malakhovskii, Ia. E., A. A. Lapin, and N. K. Vedeneev. Kardannyeperedachi. Moscow, 1962.


References in periodicals archive ?
Now, we have in the UAE a factory that can design, develop, manufacture, and exchange Cardan shafts for four different segments, with the quick turnaround enabling customers to reduce downtimes and better monetise their businesses," he explained.
Frost & Sullivan forecasts a 5 to 10 percent reduction in weight of an automobile (depending on the number of in-wheel motors) if manufacturers can do away with components such as cardan shafts, differentials, and transmissions.
The gearbox output shaft and the roll pegs are connected via cardan shafts.
In addition to RailPacks with T211 transmissions and Voith/MAN engines, the Voith delivery scope for this project includes SK/KE 485 gear units, as well as cardan shafts and Scharfenberg couplers.