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Propeller

Propeller

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Published by Tissara Nalin

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Published by: Tissara Nalin on Mar 08, 2013
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04/05/2014

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KINGSTON UNIVERSITY-K0827514 Page 1
1. INTRODUCTION:
The first step of a propeller design date backs to 1493 when Leonardo Da vinciattempted a devise for a vertical flight. Though this helicopter (see fig 1) flyingprinciple was never put to a reality, it dealt with the theory of 
“helical airscrew”
similar to propulsion of modern day propeller. [1]
Fig 1: Helicopter rotor 
.
Frank Ross (1953), “
Helicopter rotor”.
Flying Windmills. [Online] Available at<http://www.aviastar.org/history/index.html> Accessed on 01
st
Dec 2010
The propeller acts in similar fashion to a helical screw driven through solid mediumto propel through air. It was not until numerous experiments that took
from 1700’s toearly 1800’s
century lead to the conclusion of straightened airscrew blades for morepropulsive efficiency. Jean Baptiste was the first to design a hot air balloon driven bypropellers to lift into the skies of Paris in 1783. However, the development of hot air balloons did not progress for long, owing to lack of directional control and thepotential fire hazards of the gases involved. Attempts for powered flight were madeduring the late 18
th
century but none met success until in 1903 when Wright brother flew the first engine driven propeller aircraft. [2][3]
 
KINGSTON UNIVERSITY-K0827514 Page 2
2. EVOLUTION OF PROPELLERS PITCH CONTROL SYSTEMS:
The propellers were no different from the aerofoil used to generate lift in airplanes,so efficiency of propeller in design and construction were paramount importance for the optimum aerodynamic performance in flight. Unlike in wings, Lift that producedby the propeller aerofoil is considered as the thrust that propels the aircraft forward.If the angle of attack were the same from the root to the tip of the blade, the rootwould have a negative angle of attack and the tip would stall due to the increase of rotational velocity across the blade from root to tip. Solution soon came with theinnovation of twisted blade configuration by Polish scientist, Stefan Drzewiecki in1900. This design essentially helps blade to work at the optimum angle of attack atall its working sections (see fig 2 & 3) and keeps uniform distribution of lift across theblade, eliminating undue bending forces on the blade. [4] [17]
Fig2: Twisted Blade.Shaun.D (2010),
“Twisted Blade
”, NMIT. [Online] Available at <
nd
 Dec 2010
 
KINGSTON UNIVERSITY-K0827514 Page 3
Fig 3: Aerodynamics forces.
Shaun. D (2010), “
 Aerodynamic Forces”,
nd
 Dec 2010
FIXED-PITCH PROPELLER
Early propellers were fixed pitch; they possess optimum operation characteristicsonly at
a particular speed and RPM. So it’s
always a compromise between climb or cruise performance. Inconsistent engine RPM due to varying torque from differentflying conditions on the propeller blades were shortcomings of such designs, sooperation of the engine in its optimum design configuration were never achieved.This also led to awful lot of work to pilots keeping the engine RPM constant. [8]

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