Substituting composite structures for conventional metallic structures has many advantages because of higher specific stiffness and strength of composite materials. The drive shafts are used in automotive, aircraft and aerospace applications for power transmission. This work deals with the replacement of conventional two-piece steel drive shafts with a single-piece e-glass/ epoxy, high strength carbon/epoxy and high modulus carbon/epoxy composite drive shaft for an automotive application. the design parameters such as ply thickness, number of plies required, stacking sequence of laminate were optimized for e-glass/ epoxy, high strength carbon/epoxy and high modulus carbon/epoxy composite drive shafts of an automobile using genetic algorithm with the objective of minimizing the weight of composite drive shafts which is subjected to the constraints such as torque transmission, torsional buckling capacities and fundamental lateral natural frequency. The weight savings of the e-glass/ epoxy, high strength carbon/epoxy and high modulus carbon/epoxy shaft were 48.36 %, 86.90 % and 86.90 % of the steel shaft respectively. the torque transmission capacity of the composite drive shafts have been calculated by neglecting and considering the effect of centrifugal forces and it was observed that centrifugal forces will reduce the torque transmission capacity of the shaft. Natural frequency using bernoulli-euler and timoshenko beam theories was compared. The frequency calculated by using the bernoulli euler beam theory is high, because it neglects the effect of rotary inertia & transverse shear. The variation of the stresses and strains along the thickness of the e-glass/ epoxy, high strength carbon/epoxy and high modulus carbon/epoxy composite drive shafts were plotted by using classical lamination theory. It is observed that all stresses are within in the allowable limit. Static, modal and buckling analysis are carried out on the finite element model of the high strength carbon/epoxy composite drive shaft.
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