A drive shaft, driving shaft, propeller shaft, or Cardan shaft is a mechanical component for transmitting torque and rotation, usually used to connect other components of a drive train that cannot be connected directly because of distance or the need to allow for relative movement between them.
Drive shafts are carriers of torque: they are subject to torsion and shear stress, equivalent to the difference between the input torque and the load. They must therefore be strong enough to bear the stress, whilst avoiding too much additional weight as that would in turn increase their inertia.
Drive shafts frequently incorporate one or more universal joints or jaw couplings, and sometimes a splined joint or prismatic joint to allow for variations in the alignment and distance between the driving and driven components