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PropellerBasics

Mostmarinepropellershavemarkingswhichindicatedit'sdimensions.Therearea
numberofdifferentcombinationsofmarkings,buttheyshouldbeinorderofdiameter,
followedbypitch.Quiteoftenoninboardpropellersthediameterandpitchwillbe
separatedbyanXorthedirectionofrotation.Someoutboardpropellersusepartnumbers
whichhavetobecrossreferencedtoacataloguetodeterminethedimensions.When
discussingororderingpropellers,alwaysrefertothediameterfirst,thenthepitche.g..20
by18,whichindicatesa20inchdiameterpropellerwith18inchesofpitch.Propellersare
specifiedinmillimetersaroundtheworld,exceptforNorthAmerica,whereinchesprevail.

Elements
Propellersaremadeupofvariouselements.

TheHub,isthecenterofthepropeller.Itfunctionstoprovideamethodof

attachingthepropellershafttotheblades.
Thebladerootiswherethebladeisattachedtothehub.Itistypicallythe
thickestpartoftheblade.
Thebladeisthehelicalformedsectionofthepropellerwhichtransmitsthe
rotationaltorqueofthepropellershaftintothrusttopropelyourboat.Bladesare
designedinallkindsofprofilesandoutlines,eachofferingvariousbenefitsin
convertingtorquetothrust.
Thebladepressurefaceisthehighpressuresideofthepropellerblade
facingawayfromthebowoftheboat.
Thebladesuctionfaceisthelowpressuresideofthepropellerbladefacing
towardthebowoftheboat.
Theleadingedgerunsalongthebladeoutlinefromtheroottothetip
separatingthepressureandsuctionfaceoftheblade.Asharpleadingedgereduces
theloadontheshaft,butincreasesthechanceofdamage.Mostleadingedge
profilesareatradeoffbetweenstrengthanddurability.
Thetrailingedgerunsalongthebladeoutlinefromtheroottothetip.Itis
wherethewaterexitstheblade.Theprofileofthetrailingedgeiscriticalin
reducingnoiseandharmonics.
Thebladetipisformedbetweentheleadingandtrailingedgesontheblade
outline.Thedistancefromthecenterofthehubtothebladetiptimes2describes
thepropellerdiameter.

Materials
Propellersaremadeofvariousmaterials,includingeverythingfromplastictotitanium.
Themostcommonmaterialsare:

Composite.Thismaterialisverylightweightandmoderatelystrong.Itis
expensiveandalmostcorrosionproof,butisnonrepairable.
Aluminum.Thismaterialislightweightandmoderatelystrong.Itis
inexpensiveandrepairable,butitwillcorrodereadily.
StainlessSteel.Thismaterialisheavyandverystrong.Itisrepairable,butvery
expensive.Itiscorrosionresistant,butwillcorroderapidlywithoutthepresenceof
oxygen.

ManganeseBronze.Thismaterialismoderatelyheavyandmoderately
strong.Itistheleastexpensiveofthebronzematerialsandisquiterepairable.It's
mainingredientsarecopperandzinc.Withalackofprotection,thezinccontent
inthematerialwillactasananodetoprotectotherunderwatermetalsonyourboat
leavingoxidizedcopperbehind.Thisisindicatedbyapinkcoloringtothe
propeller.Afterenoughcorrosiontakesplace,thepropellerwillbebrittleandneed
tobereplaced.
Nibral(nickelaluminumbronze).Thismaterialislighterandstronger
thanmanganesebronze.Itismoreexpensivethanmanganesebronze,andisquite
repairable.It'smainingredientsarecopper,aluminum,andasmallamountof
nickel.Duetoit'shighercoppercontent,it'smorecorrosionresistantthan
manganesebronze,butleftunprotectedthealuminumcanactasananodeto
protectotherunderwatermetalsonyourboat.Thisisindicatedbydarkcraterson
thesurfaceofthematerialringedwithagreencolor.Leftlongenough,these
craterswillgorightthroughthepropeller,anditwillhavetobereplaced.

Rotation
Propellerrotation.Forsomereason,thisisoftenaconfusingsubject.

Righthand.Thisreferstothedirectionofrotationofthepropellertoprovide
forwardthrust
toyourboat.Arighthandpropellerrotatesclockwisewhenviewedfromastern.In
otherwords,standingbehindyourboatandlookingtowardsthebow,the
propellerturnsinaclockwiserotation.
Lefthand.Thisistheoppositeofrighthand,andviewedfromastern,rotates
counterclockwise.
Anothermethodofdeterminingtherotationofyourpropelleristoplaceyour
thumbontheaftendofthehub,andwrapyourfingersoverthetrailingedgeofthe
blade.Thehandyouusedeterminestherotationofthepropeller.
Twinpropellers.Normallyonsmallervesselsthepropellerswillrotate
outwardsatthetop,makingtheportsidelefthand,andthestarboardsideright
hand.Onlargervesselsitisoftenmoreefficienttorotatethepropellersinwardsat
thetop,especiallywithsinglerudderinstallations.Eitherway,itisveryimportant
tonotewhichpropisonwhichsidepriortoremovaltoavoidtheembarrassment
ofinstallingthembackwards.

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