Commonly found within boats and aircraft, propellers are mechanical devices that provide propulsion. They typically consist of a revolving shaft with two or more angled, radiating blades that exert linear thrust in both fluids and air. It is important to note that the propeller is not just made of a fan with blades. In fact, it has many different parts that make up the assembly, offering maximum efficiency to the craft it is mounted to.
A propeller is, in simplistic terms, a “rotating wing,” or airfoil. When the aircraft engine drives the propeller, motion is generated between the wing-shaped propeller blades and the air.As the propeller spins and gains speed, more thrust is produced. There are a variety of propeller designs, each of which cater to a diverse set of needs. In some cases, propeller manufacturers utilize experimental multi-curved blades. Nonetheless, the main propeller parts always remain the same regardless of the design. The main propeller parts include the hub and the blade.
The hub is the central portion of the propeller that is connected to the shaft via three or four ribs. These ribs allow exhaust gases to exit the engine. Each propeller arm has a blade that runs from the butt to the tip and is attached to the propeller hub. A propeller retaining nut is used to lock the hub to the shaft. The blades have many different features, each of which will be explained in detail.
Propellers are usually equipped with at least two blades, balancing the forces produced when they rotate. Sometimes called a root, a shank is found near the hub and is defined as the thickened portion of the blade. The leading edge of the blade is the cutting edge that slices into the air as it spins. The blade face, meanwhile, is the surface of the propeller blade that looks like a flat side. Lastly, the blade back is the curved surface of the propeller.
The blade angle consists of the space between the face of an element and the plane of rotation. Throughout the length of blade, the blade angle changes. The varying angles allow each section of the blade to travel at different speeds. Lastly, the blade element comprises the airfoil sections that are joined together to form the propeller blade. These sections are placed at different angles because each section travels slower and faster at different parts of the blade. Varying blade angles allow the relative wind to benefit the angle of attack a pilot is pursuing.
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