Ship Propeller Design

Ships are vessels that operate in water. There are many parts to a ship. However, the most important part will be a propeller. As the name suggests a propeller is a device that makes way for the ship to move ahead in the water. We will now discuss about ship propeller design that will definitely help you to understand better how ships operate in the sea.

Ship propellers are also called marine propellers. You must have seen one in the movies. It looks like a huge fan in the front of the ship. It not only looks like a fan but it actually is a huge fan with equally huge blades. If it does not function properly the ship will perhaps never move. It transmits power. It transmits rotational motion into thrust which propels the ship forward. Some may even call it a screw. We are enclosing the picture of one for your better understanding.

Archimedes was the first one who used the concept of screw. He did not use it for boats though. It was James Watt who suggested that a screw can be used to propel boats. In the year 1827 Josef Ressel invented the ship propeller with multiple blades. Civetta was the name of his ship where he first used this technology. A mariner named John Patch developed a two bladed and fan shaped propeller in the year 1832. In the year 1835 Francis Pettit Smith was amazed to see that a boat actually propels better with a broken propeller. Till then the boat propellers mostly looked like a screw. Post this discovery people realized that the propeller could be of a little different shape. That is how the modern design of a ship propeller came into existence.

As time moved on the technology of developing the ship propeller also changed. For years the propeller was used as described above. Some made the blades thinner; some changed the material that was used for construction. However, the shape of the ship propeller remained more or less the same. There were propellers with as less as two blades and some had as many as five blades as the requirement maybe.

Some more unique designs of propellers are listed here. An azimuth propeller is one that has a vertical axis propeller. Nowadays each blade of the ship propeller is made of different thickness and radius. Another design that is popularly used is called transverse axis propeller. These looks like wings of birds that flap with each other. They are not very popular but it is believed that in the future they will become very common. These can improve the speed of the ships by a large margin.

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The various dimensions of a propeller are diameter, rotation rate, density, thrust, torque, and ship speed and inflow velocity. All these factors need to be considered well to come up with a strong and effective ship propeller. All these are combined together by the experts to come up with an efficient and ideal ship propeller. It depends completely on the ship designer and the engineer how they are going to design the ship propeller which is best suited for their requirement and that can operate the ships to the best of their ability. The metals that are most commonly used to make ship propellers are either aluminium or stainless steel. Both have their unique abilities that make them a good option to use in the propellers. As the propellers are most of the time inside the water they need to be maintained from time to time too.

We must tell you that as per the size and weight of the ship the shape of the propeller changes. Sophisticated software and programs are used by technical experts to make ship propellers. The shipping companies spend a huge sum every year on research to make the most efficient ship propeller. Very high level of designing and engineering is required to make these propellers.

Shipping companies spend millions to get the right propeller. After all the performance of the whole ship, completely depends on the strength of the propeller. I hope that we have given you a fair ides of ship propeller design and how it evolved over time. Interesting right, well I hope you will find this article as interesting as I found it while writing.

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