# Chapter 11 Keys, Couplings and Seals RJM 3/16/04

Chapter 11 - Keys, Couplings and Seals
•How attach power transmission components to shaft to prevent rotation
and axial motion?
Torque resistance: keys, splines, pins, weld, press fit, etc..
Axial positioning: retaining rings, locking collars, shoulders
machined into shaft, etc….
•What is the purpose of rigid and flexible couplings in a power transmission
system?
•Specify seals for shafts and other types of machine elements.
11.1 Chapter Objectives:
Chapter 11 Keys, Couplings and Seals RJM 3/16/04
11.2 Keys
Most common for shafts up to 6.5” is the square and rectangular keys:

1. Cost effective means of locking the
2. Can replace damaged component
3. Ease of installation
4. Can use key as “fuse” – fails in shear at some predetermined
torque to avoid damaging drive train.

Figure 11.1
Chapter 11 Keys, Couplings and Seals RJM 3/16/04
Square and rectangular keys:
Step 1 –
Determine
key size
based on
shaft
diameter
Step 2 –
Calculate
required
length, L,
based on
torque (11.4)
Chapter 11 Keys, Couplings and Seals RJM 3/16/04
SHAFT BORE
Step 3 – Specify appropriate shaft and bore dimensions for keyseat:
See Figure 11.2
Note, should also specify fillet radii and key
chamfers – see Table 11-2
For 5/16” key
Chapter 11 Keys, Couplings and Seals RJM 3/16/04
http://www.driv-lok.com
Chapter 11 Keys, Couplings and Seals RJM 3/16/04
Other types of keys:
a. Tapered key – can install after
hub (gear) is installed over
shaft.
b. Gib head key – ease of
extraction
c. Pin keys – low stress
concentration
offers ease of assembly
Chapter 11 Keys, Couplings and Seals RJM 3/16/04
11.4 Design of Keys – stress analysis to determine required
length:
=
Torque being
transmitted
T = F/(D/2) or F = T/(D/2) this is the force
the key must react!!!
Chapter 11 Keys, Couplings and Seals RJM 3/16/04
Shear stress
Bearing stress
Required Length based on
Shear Stress:

N Sy where
DW
T
L
d
d
/ 5 . 0
2
= = t
t
Required Length based on
Bearing Stress:
N Sy where
DH
T
L
d
d
/
4
= = o
o
Typical parameters for keys:
N = 3, material 1020 CD (Sy = 21,000 psi)
Chapter 11 Keys, Couplings and Seals RJM 3/16/04
Example: Specify the complete key geometry and material for an application
requiring a gear (AISI OQT 1000) with a 4” hub to be mounted to a 3.6” diameter
shaft (AISI 1040 CD). The torque delivered through the system is 21,000 lb-in.
Assume the key material is 1020 CD (Sy = 21,000 psi) and N = 3.

Solution (note since key is weakest material, focus analysis on key!):
See handout
Chapter 11 Keys, Couplings and Seals RJM 3/16/04
11.4 Splines
•Can carry higher torque for given diameter (vs keys) or
•Lower stress on attachment (gear)
•Better fit, less vibration (spline integral to shaft so no vibrating key)
•May allow axial motion while reacting torque

•Cost
•Impractical to use as fuse
Chapter 11 Keys, Couplings and Seals RJM 3/16/04
Splines
“Axial keys” machined
into a shaft
Transmit torque from
shaft to another
machine element
Chapter 11 Keys, Couplings and Seals RJM 3/16/04
• Uniform transfer of torque
• No relative motion between “key” and
shaft
• Axial motion can be accommodated
(can cause fretting and corrosion)
• Mating element can be indexed with a
spline
• Generally hardened to resist wear
Chapter 11 Keys, Couplings and Seals RJM 3/16/04
Spline Types
• Straight
–SAE
–4, 6, 10 or 16 splines
• Involute
–Pressure angles of 30, 37.5, or 45
deg.
–Tend to center shafts for better
concentricity
Chapter 11 Keys, Couplings and Seals RJM 3/16/04
SAE Spline Sizes
A: Permanent Fit
Pg 504
Chapter 11 Keys, Couplings and Seals RJM 3/16/04
Two types of splines:
Straight Sided Involute:
Chapter 11 Keys, Couplings and Seals RJM 3/16/04
Use this for spline
design – SAE
formulas based on
1,000 psi bearing
stress allowable!!
Use this to get
diameter. Then
table 11.4 to get W,
h, d
Chapter 11 Keys, Couplings and Seals RJM 3/16/04
Torque Capacity
• Torque capacity is based on 1000 psi
bearing stress on the sides of the
splines
T = 1000*N*R*h
N = number of splines
R = mean radius of the splines
h = depth of the splines

Chapter 11 Keys, Couplings and Seals RJM 3/16/04
Torque Capacity Cont’d
) d D (
2
1
h ÷ =
4
d D
2
d D
2
1
R
+
=
|
.
|

\
|
+
=
|
|
.
|

\
|
÷
=
|
.
|

\
|
÷
|
.
|

\
|
+
=
8
d D
N 1000
2
d D
4
d D
N 1000 T
2 2
Substituting R and h into torque
equation:
Chapter 11 Keys, Couplings and Seals RJM 3/16/04
Torque Capacity Cont’d
• Further refinement can be done by
substituting appropriate values for N
and d.
• For 16 spline version, with C fit,
N = 16 and d = .810D

2
2 2
D 688 T
8
) D 810 (. D
) 16 ( 1000 T
=
|
|
.
|

\
|
÷
=
688 / T D =
Torque in IN-LBS/INCH of spline
Required D for given Torque
Chapter 11 Keys, Couplings and Seals RJM 3/16/04
Torque Capacity for Straight
Splines
Pg 505
Chapter 11 Keys, Couplings and Seals RJM 3/16/04
Torque Capacity for Straight
Splines
Chapter 11 Keys, Couplings and Seals RJM 3/16/04
Example: A chain sprocket delivers 4076 in-
lbs of torque to a shaft having a 2.50 inch
diameter. The sprocket has a 3.25 inch hub
length. Specify a suitable spline having a B
fit.
T = kD
2
L
T = torque capacity in in-lbs
kD
2
= torque capacity per inch
(from Table 11-5)
L = length of spline in inches
Chapter 11 Keys, Couplings and Seals RJM 3/16/04
Example Continued
• From Table 11-5,
use 6 splines
201 7 . 200
) " 25 . 3 ( ) " 50 . 2 (
lbs in 4076
L D
T
k
2 2
= =
·
= =
Chapter 11 Keys, Couplings and Seals RJM 3/16/04
Torque Capacity for Straight
Splines
4076/3.25
2.5
Chapter 11 Keys, Couplings and Seals RJM 3/16/04
Example: Specify straight spline for the previous problem (i.e. Torque = 21,000 lb-in
and shaft is 3.6 in diameter.
Chapter 11 Keys, Couplings and Seals RJM 3/16/04
Taper & Screw
Expensive – machining
Good concentricity
Moderate torque capacity
Can use a key too
Chapter 11 Keys, Couplings and Seals RJM 3/16/04
Couplings
• Used to connect two shafts together at
their ends to transmit torque from one to
the other.
• Two kinds of couplings:
–RIGID
–FLEXIBLE
Chapter 11 Keys, Couplings and Seals RJM 3/16/04
Rigid Couplings
NO relative motion between the shafts.
Precise alignment of the shafts
Bolts in carry torque in shear. N = # of bolts.
) ( N D
T 8
d
d bc
t t
=
Chapter 11 Keys, Couplings and Seals RJM 3/16/04
Flexible Couplings
• Transmit torque smoothly
• Permit some axial, radial and angular
misalignment

Chapter 11 Keys, Couplings and Seals RJM 3/16/04
Flexible Couplings
Chapter 11 Keys, Couplings and Seals RJM 3/16/04
Flexible Couplings
Chapter 11 Keys, Couplings and Seals RJM 3/16/04
Lord Corp. Products
Chapter 11 Keys, Couplings and Seals RJM 3/16/04
Flexible Coupling
Chapter 11 Keys, Couplings and Seals RJM 3/16/04
Universal Joints
Large shaft misalignments permissible
Key factors in selection are Torque, Angular Speed
and the Operating Angle
Output not uniform wrt input Output IS uniform wrt input
Chapter 11 Keys, Couplings and Seals RJM 3/16/04
Axial Constraint Methods
Retaining ring
Retaining ring
Shoulders
Spacers
Chapter 11 Keys, Couplings and Seals RJM 3/16/04
Retaining Rings
Chapter 11 Keys, Couplings and Seals RJM 3/16/04
Locknuts