Aluminum Propeller Contributions to the Shipping Industry

Use of aluminum propellers in the marine industry have seen tremendous rise in the past two decades  this has come about due to the advances that have been made on the metal itself. Aluminum metal is the most common metal found on earth’s solid matter making up 7 %. The metal is made up of 270 different minerals which naturally occur on the planets solid surface but require an intense chemical reaction to bond and form the material.

aluminum propeller

aluminum propellers

This chemical reaction occurs rarely thus leaving the minerals ore deposits known as bauxite in formations that can be mined and be shipped for processing, aluminum on its natural or pure stage is a metal that carries many good qualities that are desired in the engineering world but also had a major negative quality. The metal when in a pure state is soft and malleable; this made it practically unusable on comportment or parts that underwent high pressures when working.

The metal remained in use on marine vessel where it was used on parts that required minimal pressures, but two decades ago researches made a breaker through when they developed a stronger form of aluminum that could withstand more heat and was stronger. This was what the engineering industry was waiting for since they wanted to use the metal due to its anti corrosive and light weight qualities, this was a welcomed discovery, and marine engineers began immediately designing parts like the ship and boat aluminum propeller among many other parts that required to be protected from corrosion. The propeller was the main concern since it is exposed to salty corrosive water and required replacement over time, with aluminum the problem would be solved and gives two major advantages:

  1. Anti corrosive properties: the corrosion problem has and still posses’ major concerns in the marine industry and vessel manufacturers and owners must ensure proper maintenance to prevent corrosion from destroying their vessels. With the evolution of stronger aluminum the problem has seen significant improvement in some parts and components on board marine vessels. Since it is not practical to manufacture the complete vessel from strengthened aluminum some smaller parts like the propeller and rudders are being manufactured using the metal.
  2. Light weight: aluminum light weight is a special property that few metals have and one that many engineers desire, aluminum weight is almost half the weight of steel but a little weaker than steel. This property has increased the capability of usage of metals; marine engineers realize that the weight difference contributes immensely towards the power produced which in turn reduces the fuel consumed by marine vessels. Fuel economy has been a major concern in the shipping industry due to huge quantities that are consumed by marine engines. The propeller made from aluminum reduce fuel cost something that the vessel owners have welcomed.
aluminium propeller


3. These positive factors noted on aluminum propellers has brought  major changes in the shipping industry fuel economy but further concerns are yet to be solved concerning the use of aluminum propellers. Factors such as brittleness and the ability to adjust pitch remain major factors shipping companies would like to the resolved with regard to aluminum propellers.

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