¿What is a Boat Propeller?

Do you know how ships move? Have you heard of the propeller?

A propeller or propeller is a rotating fan-shaped structure that is used to propel the boat. Interesting truth! Take a look at everything you need to know about the ship propeller.

The propulsion necessary to move a boat results from the power transmitted by the main motor of the boat, this power is converted into the rotational movement to generate a thrust that imparts momentum to the water, resulting in a force acting on the boat and pushes him forward.

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Boat Propeller Types and Construction

Boat propeller types

The boat propeller is the most essential part of a boat. Today there are companies that use a specially developed computer program that determines the perfect propeller for your boat based on the data provided.

Propeller Material and Construction

Marine propellers are made of corrosion resistant materials, as they are operated directly in seawater, which is a corrosion accelerator. The materials used to make marine propellers are aluminum alloys and stainless steel.

In some cases, other popular materials are used such as nickel, aluminum and bronze alloys that are 10-15% lighter than other materials and have higher strength. Versatility varies, however, effectiveness and quality are always sought.

Types of Boat Propeller

The propellers are classified according to several factors; among these: according to the number of attached blades and depending on the blade pitch. The classification of the different types of propellers is shown below.

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Classification by Number of Attached Blades

Propeller blades can vary from 3 blade propeller to 4 blade propeller and sometimes even 5 blade propeller. However, the most used are 3 blades and 4 propellers. The propeller efficiency will be higher for the propeller with a number minimum of blades.

Boat Propeller or 3-Blade Propeller

A 3 blade propeller offers good high speed performance; at low speed, it is generally not very efficient and its acceleration is better than in other types of propeller. The manufacturing cost is lower than other types and they are usually made of aluminum alloy.

4 Blade Propeller

A 4 blade propeller provides good handling and low speed performance. The manufacturing cost is higher than 3 blade propellers and they are made of stainless steel alloys. This type of propeller has better holding power in rough seas. The 4 blade propeller provides better fuel economy compared to the other types.

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5 Blade Propeller

A 5-blade propeller provides better holding power in rough seas, as its vibration is minimal compared to other types. The manufacturing cost is higher than any of the mentioned types.

6 Blade Propeller

6-blade propellers, like 5-blade propellers, have better holding power in rough seas and the vibration they generate is minimal. The manufacturing cost is high and with the six-bladed propeller, the pressure field induced on the propeller decreases. Large container ships are mainly equipped with 5- or 6-blade propellers.

Classification by Blade Pitch on the Propeller

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The pitch of a propeller can be defined as the displacement a propeller makes for each complete 360 ​​̊ revolution. The classification of the propellers according to the pitch is as follows.

Fixed Pitch Propeller

The blades on the fixed pitch propeller are permanently attached to the hub. Fixed pitch type propellers are cast, therefore the pitch position is permanently fixed and cannot be changed during operation. They are usually made of copper alloy.

Controllable Pitch Propeller

In the controlled pitch type propeller, it is possible to alter the pitch by rotating the blade around its vertical axis by a mechanical and hydraulic arrangement. This helps drive the propulsion machinery at constant load without requiring a reversal mechanism, as the pitch can be altered to match the required operating condition.

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Large ship marine propeller

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How Does the Boat Propeller Work?

For vehicles traveling on land, a ship's propeller as the propulsion system that propels them is different. In those systems, the motor drives the axle that is attached to the vehicle tire to advance ahead of the vehicle body. For ships moving on water, there are no such tires or surfaces where they can travel. What happens is:

  • The ship moves through the water and the ship's propeller is used to steer the ship forward or backward, depending on the direction of rotation or tilt of the propeller.
  • The ship's engine is connected to the ship's propeller through the shaft arrangement.
  • As the engine turns the propeller, the radiating blades that are set at a particular pitch form a helical spiral, similar to a screw. By doing this, it transforms rotational power into thrust which is linear in nature.

Conclusion of the Boat Propellers

This linear thrust will act on the water in such a way that as the propeller blades rotate, it creates pressure between the front and rear surfaces. Therefore, a mass of fluid accelerates in one direction creating a reactive force that helps the body attached to the propeller (which is the ship) to advance.

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