Difference between shaft and axle

The shaft is a rotating element, circular in cross-section that supports transmission elements like gears, pulley, and transmits the power while the axel is a supporting rotating element like wheels, and is fitted to the housing by means of bearing. The axle may be rotating as well as stationery too. Let us have a deep insight into the comparison and difference between shaft and axle. 

Main difference :

The main difference is that the shaft is used to transfer the power from one mechanical member to the other while the axle is used for just support the load. 

Difference : 

  • The shaft is a live member while the axle is a dead one.
  • Axle subjected to only bending moments whereas the shaft subjected to bending moment and twisting moment and sometimes the axial loads. 
  • Shafts are the used to transfer torque and bending moment to another member by means of rotation while the axle is stationary used to transfer bending moment.
  • The shaft can take a load on shaft circumference while axle can take the load at the centre or any of its circumference.
  • The shaft is used for rotary motion while the axle is used for linear or angular motion.
  • The shaft used to transmit power at a short distance while axle transmits power at long distance.
  • The shaft can be meant for balancing or transferring torque while the axle is meant for balancing or transferring bending moment.
  • Shaft and axle both of have different functions drive train in a vehicle. Shaft transfers power from the transmission to the rear differential gearbox while axle transfer power from the rear differential gearbox to the wheels.
  • A shaft is a hollow steel tube of greater diameter than an axle shaft and with universal joints on each end while Axle is made by solid-steel rods with teeth cut into their ends.