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Couplings & U-Joints


Couplings and U-Joints

A shaft coupling is used to connect two shafts that turn in the same direction on the same centerline. The major types of shaft couplings are rigid, flexible, and U-Joints (universal joints). Rigid couplings are used to connect shafts that are precisely aligned. Flexible couplings, which make up 90% of couplings sold, are designed to transmit torque while permitting some radial, axial, and angular misalignment. They can accommodate angular misalignment up to a few degrees and some parallel misalignment. U-Joints are used to connect shafts that intersect at angles greater than what a flexible coupling can handle.

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Functions of Shaft Couplings

  • Connect or extend the driving or driven shafts
  • Manage misalignment between shafts
  • Transmit rotary power from one shaft to another
  • Protect expensive equipment
  • No efficiency loss
  • Cushion shock loads
  • Electrically insulate drive
  • Limit end float
  • Provide a place for clutching components
  • Provide torsional tuning by varying the torsional stiffness of the coupling

Coupling Type Selection Factors

  • Alignment Capability
  • Axial Freedom
  • Backlash
  • Chemical Resistance
  • Damping Capacity
  • Design Adaptability
  • Ease of Installation
  • Fail-safe or Fusible Link
  • Field Repair Capabilities
  • High Speed Capacity
  • Maintenance Requirements
  • Number of Component Parts
  • Reactionary Loads Due to Axial Forces
  • Reactionary Loads Due to Misalignment
  • Reciprocating Drivers and Loads
  • Temperature Sensitivity Range
  • Torque Capacity to Diameter (Power Intensity)
  • Torque Overload Capacity
  • Torsional Stiffness

PTDA-Handbook-Cover

Content on this page was created using excerpts from the Power Transmission Handbook (5th Edition), which is written and sold by the Power Transmission Distributor’s Association (PTDA). The Power Transmission Handbook is just under 400 pages and is a valuable resource for anyone involved or interested in the power transmission industry.

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