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The Workings of a Spline Shaft

May 01, 2017

The Workings of a Spline Shaft

By definition, a spline shaft is a mechanical component can perform two functions, as an anti-rotational device or transmit torque to another device. These functions can be undertaken because the splines, or teeth or grooves of the gear, are machined into the length of the shaft.


There are a number of spline shaft designs currently in use today. Here are some of the most common ones:


Parallel:This kind of spline shaft would have ridges or teeth that have a square profile.


Involute: This kind has tapered ridges along the shaft, which help in lowering the stress concentrations during gear operation.


Crowned: This kind of spline shaft have specially designed teeth that taper or smoothen out towards the end face of the spline. This allows for angular misalignment during gear operation.


Serrations: This kind of spline shaft would have a non-involute tooth designed spline. The said gear splines would be set at an angle allowing for more teeth to be set on the shaft itself.


Helical: This kind of spline shaft would either have parallel or involute splines where the ridges form a helix pattern across and around the shaft itself.


The basic operation of a spline shaft is to mate with a female version of it, or interlock in order to transfer rotary movement. Another function is to become a linear guide when working with a bearing with internal spline gear mechanism. The key element would be the interaction and interlocking of the gears and the shaft. An example would be a gear mounted on a shaft would have female splines which interlock with male splines on the shaft.


As can be seen, the workings of a spline shaft depend on the splines machined unto the shaft. How it is created determines the function and performance that can be done.