You are on page 1of 12

To: Barbara Fitzpatrick

From: Jose Francisco


Subject: Best Propeller for Merchant Ship: Open Propeller vs. Ducted Propeller.
Date: May 5, 2017

Attached is my report, Best Propeller for Merchant Ship: Open Propeller vs. Ducted Propeller.
The purpose of this report is to determine which propeller would be appropriate given the type of
ship and operations it will be performing. The open propeller is simply a device having blades
radiating from a central hub that is rotated to produce thrust to propel a ship (marine structure) or
an aircraft. Ducted Propeller, also known as Kort Nozzles is a propeller fitted with a fixed annular
ducted having airfoil cross section around it. These two types of the propeller are vastly used in
Marine Industry for various reasons. When designing a merchant ship, it is a Naval Architect job
to choose the right propeller to produce maximum efficiency, reduce costs and CO2 emissions.
These two types of propeller do essentially the same task. However, they do it differently. So after
an extensive secondary research, it was found that the categories of comparison are power
available, environmental impact, efficiency, durability, and Maintenance.

The results for Open Propeller are as follows:


1. It is more versatile with the diameter.
2. Reduced weight
3. It creates less Thrust.
4. Lower installation and maintenance costs.

The results for Ducted Propeller are as follows:


1. It increases the efficiency by 20%.
2. It creates more thrust for the same amount of power.
3. It reduces carbon dioxide emissions by the engine.
4. Initial construction costs and maintenance are high.
5. It reduces cavitation.
6. Limited propeller diameter.
7. Only efficient when a vessel operates at low speed.

Based on my research, I recommend ducted propeller because of its effective way of providing
thrust at low speed. Also, In the long run, ducted propeller reduces the fuel consumption and
extends the maintenance schedules for an engine which results in a lot saving for the owners.
Best Propeller for Merchant Ship: Open Propeller vs.
Ducted Propeller

Prepared for: Dr. Barbara Fitzpatrick

Prepared by: Jose Francisco

May 5, 2017
Table of Contents

List of Illustrations .. i

Executive Summary ... ii

1. Introduction 1

2. Research Methods .. 2

3. Results 3

3.1. Power Available... 3

3.2. Environmental Impact . 4

3.3. Efficiency. 5

3.4. Durability and Maintenance 6

4. Conclusion 8

5. Recommendation ... 9

Bibliography 11
List of Illustrations

Figure 1: Ducted propeller 3-D model . 3

Figure 2: Typical propeller characteristics ... 4

Figure 3: 3a-b: Fully developed cavitation ....... 5


ii

Executive Summary
This report presents the advantages and disadvantages of installing a ducted propeller or

open propeller and provides a recommendation on which is the better for a merchant ship. Most of

the sources used on this research are from UNO library catalog and database. I made use of

academic journals, new articles, magazines, and books. I extensively used Compendex and

Academic Search Complete databases which cover a vast range of engineering disciplines, to carry

out my research.

Besides the engine that supplies the power, the propeller is the most important piece of

equipment on board a vessel. Propeller design can directly affect the efficiency and fuel

consumption. Furthermore, the ducted propeller, also known as Kort nozzle has a much complex

to design. In the ducted propeller, as the name suggests, the tip of the propeller is shrouded by a

nozzle which reduces the occurrence of cavitation significantly. A phenomenon caused by a liquid

reaching the boiling point due to the difference of pressure when an object moves through a fluid

causing erosion on the surface of the object.

Studies conducted have concluded that ducted propeller is only efficient when the ship is

operating at speed not greater than twelve knots. For this reason, this type of propeller is vastly

used on a vessel that requires a considerable amount of thrust such as tug boats, trawlers, tankers,

etc. The open propeller, on the other hand, is mostly used on free running ships or vessels that do

not require a lot of thrusts.

Based on my research, I recommend ducted propeller because of its effective way of

providing thrust at low speed. Also, In the long run, ducted propeller reduces the fuel consumption

and extends the maintenance schedules for an engine which results in a lot saving for the owners.
1

1. Introduction

The goal of this report is to provide criteria followed by the naval architect to select the

best propeller to choose for a Merchant Ship. In this report, I will compare an open propeller and

a ducted propeller also known as Kort nozzle propeller. The main categories of comparison are

power available, efficiency, environmental impact, durability, and Maintenance.

An open propeller is relatively a simpler design when compared to a ducted propeller.

Thus, a Ducted Propeller has a much higher cost than the open one.

Besides the engine that supplies the power, the propeller is the most important piece of

equipment on board a vessel. Propeller design can directly affect the efficiency and fuel

consumption. Furthermore, the Kort nozzle is much complex to design. In the ducted propeller, as

the name suggests, the tip of the propeller is shrouded by a nozzle which reduces the occurrence

of cavitation significantly. A phenomenon caused by a liquid reaching the boiling point due to the

difference of pressure when an object moves through a fluid causing erosion on the surface of the

object. As for the open propeller, the design is simpler and has less weight. When naval architects

design ship, reducing weight is a high priority for a multipurpose ship which design for multiple

tasks such as carriage of wide range cargo, coast guard duties, firefighting, etc. although ducted

propeller is more efficient it also presents certain risks when the vessel has to operate on the ice

conditions. The ice can get in between the propeller blades and the nozzle which would cause the

propeller to get stuck. The other important consideration with the design concepts of the two types

of the propeller is the weight. As I mentioned earlier, the ducted propeller is heavier than the open

propeller.

However, the ducted propeller is known for improving the efficiency of a vessel by at 20%

and reduce fuel consumption to a great extent compared to an open propeller. Besides the
2

effectiveness of ducted propeller also reduces the chances for cavitation which makes the propeller

last longer whereas for the open propeller the tip of the propeller is unprotected. Efficiency is the

main reason naval architects pick ducted propeller over the open propeller. In other words, the

nozzle assists the propeller in moving as much water as possible thus creating a high thrust at low

speeds. Therefore, it is suitable for a vessel that operates at low speed and requires high thrust. The

open propeller, on the other hand, is mostly used on ships that perform long voyages and do not

need a great maneuvering capability.

With regards to maintenance, my secondary research methods show that ducted propeller

requires a much more complicated maintenance than the open propeller because of its complex

design.

2. Research Methods

To complete this report, I used secondary research method. Most of the sources are from

UNO library catalog and database such as academic journals, new articles, magazines, and books.

I extensively used Compendex and Academic Search Complete databases which cover a vast range

of engineering disciplines, to carry out my research.

3. Results

3.1 Power Available

When selecting the appropriate propeller for a merchant's vessel, Naval architects look at

various factors and one of them is the amount of power produced by an engine. Dave Gerr, Naval

architect and adjunct professor at State University of New York Maritime College, on his book

Propeller Handbook, mentions that power generated by an engine and speed of a boat are two

essential factors strictly related that one cannot ignore when selecting a suitable propeller. This

point of view emphasizes the fact that the performance of an engine is significantly affected by
3

how well a propeller operates. He continues, a ducted propeller system will allow the same

engine, operating at the same revolutions per minute, to increase towing speed by 10 to 15

percent. Contrary to the ducted propeller, open propeller does not enhance the efficiency of an

engine while operating.

Power is transmitted from the engine to the propeller using a rotating shaft. Since the

ducted propeller has a higher propulsive efficiency than the conventional open propeller (Steen,)

it is fair to say that it will absorb less power from the engine.

3.2 Environmental Impact

An enormous environmental impact caused by the marine industry are CO2 emissions due

to the use of internal combustion engines. To generate power an engine has to burn fossil fuels

which in the process releases carbon dioxide and other poisonous gasses such as sulfur.

The shipping industry has contributed significantly to the increase in CO2 emissions in

recent years which potentially increases the chance of Global warming (Trodden, 2016). To change

this paradigm, a more efficient propeller design has to be selected. Steen adds that the ducted

propeller, in figure 1, has an efficiency of about 15% compared to the open propeller.

Figure 1: Ducted propeller 3-D model (Kinnas)


4

3.3 Efficiency

A ducted propeller is most efficient when is installed on a vessel that operates at low

speed and requires high thrust. Spyros A. Kinnas mentions that for a highly loaded propeller,

ducted propeller offers high efficiency at low speed. Due to the way ducted propellers are

designed it reduces significantly the occurrence of cavitation which according to Tobias Huuva

is the phenomena of phase change, from liquid to vapor, do a local pressure decrease. An open

propeller, on the other hand, is exposed to the environment which makes it susceptive to

cavitation. Which according to Tobias it reduces performance, causes erosion and vibration thus

making the open propeller less efficient.

Nevertheless, the efficiency of a propeller is also a measure of factors pertaining the

design of a propeller itself such as diameter, pitch, number of blades, blade area, cupped or

uncapped, etc (Gerr, xvi).

Figure 2: typical propeller characteristics (Vetma)


5

3.4 Durability and Maintenance

These two types of the propeller are vastly used in Marine Industry for various reasons.

The task of choosing one or another still a puzzling task for Naval Architects to do. The ducted

propeller is proffered over the conventional open propeller the special condition that the vessel is

to operate at the speed of 12 knots (Gerr, 103).

The durability of a propeller is directly related factors such as material used to mold the

propeller, exposure to cavitation. To improve durability manufactures use alloys that are resistant

to cavitation erosion and resistant to corrosion fatigue in sea water (Carlton, 389). As mentioned

earlier, an open propeller performance is greatly affected by cavitation it would be reasonable to

mold or manufactured with a material that is resistant to sea water corrosion in general and

cavitation erosion specifically such as Nickel- aluminum bronze alloy.

Maintenance is part of the life cycle of a propeller. Part of the maintenance includes smooth

the blades when it appears to show signs of roughness, chalking, wastage or fouling (Carlton, 516).

Due to ducted propeller complex design, it has higher maintenance and repair cost when compare

to the conventional open propeller.

Figure 3a-b: Fully developed cavitation (Lee,160)


6

4. Conclusions

It appears that there is a core relationship between ships propulsive efficiency and the type

of propeller it uses. And choosing the right propeller for a vessel is not an easy task because the

ultimate effectiveness of a propeller is affected by many factors such as the one mentioned above,

but it is not limited to these.

Nevertheless, when choosing a suitable propeller for a vessel, one should know maximum

power available, the maximum speed that pretends to attain, hull form, etc. Even though ship often

operates in different conditions to those predicted at the design stage, Naval Architects always use

previous design to improve new ones.

Also, the primary goal of a Naval Architect is to improve efficiency by reducing cost. Thus,

the choice of propellers that is presented in this report clearly seeks that goal and have realized

that the most efficient one is the ducted propeller as long as the vessels operate below the speed of

12 knots. However, the open propeller has the advantage of not being limited by the diameter. The

larger the diameter, the greater the efficiency.

5. Recommendation

Based on the results of my research, I recommend ducted propeller. Even though it has an

intricate design, Kort nozzles improve vessels efficiency by 20%. It can cut fuel consumption by

about 10%, produces an enormous amount of thrust, reduces the maintenance schedule of an

engine and most important of all it cuts down some carbon dioxides realized to the atmosphere.
7

Work Cited

Carlton, John. Marine propellers and propulsion. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann, 2007. Print.

Gerr, Dave. Propeller handbook: the complete reference for choosing, installing, and

understanding boat propellers. Camden, Me.: International Marine, 1989. Print.

Huuva, Tobias, and Simon Trnros. "Computational fluid dynamics simulation of cavitating open

propeller and azimuth thruster with nozzle in open water." Ocean Engineering 120 (2016): 160-

64. Academic Search Complete. Web. 21 Mar. 2017.

Kim, Yoo-Chul, Tae-Wan Kim, Sangwoo Pyo, and Jung-Chun Suh. "Design of propeller geometry using

streamline-adapted blade sections." Journal of Marine Science and Technology 14.2 (2008): 161-

70. Academic Search Complete. Web. 20 Mar. 2017.

Kinnas, Spyros A., Hongyang Fan, and Ye Tian. "A Panel Method with a Full Wake Alignment Model

for the Prediction of the Performance of Ducted Propellers." Journal of Ship Research 59.4

(2015): 246-57. Academic Search Complete. Web. 1 Apr. 2017.

Trodden, D.g., M.d. Woodward, and M. Atlar. "Accounting for ship maneuvering motion during propeller

selection to reduce CO2 emissions." Ocean Engineering 123 (2016): 346-56. Academic Search

Complete. Web. 1 Apr. 2017.