Machine elements, which are applied in highly dynamic processes, require a preferably high stiffness combined with an elastic behavior. Furthermore a low density and thus a reduced weight of the components lead to a reduced energy consumption of the whole mechanical system. A coupling between two drive shafts represents such a system.
This paper focuses on the design, construction, simulation and manufacturing of a non-engaging bellow coupling made of a prepreg-based carbon fibre reinforced polymer (CFRP). Application-based requirements lead to a CFRP-reinforced connection area involving metal bracing elements in order to connect the coupling with its periphery and thus providing a reversible hybrid construction. The connection of two torsion-loaded, stiff structures requires besides a very high torsional stiffness also a certain bending flexibility of the coupling geometry. Geometric variables could be identified with the finite elements method (FEM) and the design of experiments (DoE), which have an influence on the structure mechanical behavior of the CFRP bellow coupler. Passing a variable search according to Shainin, the influences of various design factors on the structural performance of the coupling were evaluated. As a production method the prepreg technology is used. Different procedures have been worked out to provide a composite-suitable drapability. Experimental investigations of tubular test specimens have been carried out in order to check the functionality of the CFRP-metal interface area.