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Rudder and Propellers

The shape of a rudder plays an important part in its efficiency. The area of the rudder is approximately 2% of the product of the length of the ship and the designed draught. Since the vertical dimensions of the rudder are somewhat restricted due to the area constraint as mentioned above, the fore and aft dimensions are increased. Again due to this increased dimensions the torque necessary to turn this rudder is overcome by fitting balanced or semi balanced rudders. Such a rudder has about 1/3rd of the rudder area forward of the turning axis.

An ideal rudder is one where the centre of pressure and the turning axis coincide for all angles of the helm. An unbalanced rudder consists of a number of pintles and gudgeons, the top pintle being the locking pintle which prevents any vertical movement in the rudder and the pintle And gudgeon taking the weight of the rudder.

Principle of screw propulsion Some people still occasionally refer to the propeller as the airscrew, a very accurate and descriptive term that reflects the basic design and function of the propeller. Leonardo da Vinci had proposed the concept of a helical screw to power a machine vertically into the air. The propeller uses that principle to provide propulsion through the air, much like a threaded screw advances through a solid medium, with some notable exceptions, primarily related to the loss of forward movement because the medium is not solid. Nonetheless, the propeller is similar to a screw in some common features. First, the pitch of a propeller is the theoretical distance the propeller would move forward in one revolution (similar to a screw) and conceptually is the same as the pitch of a screw, namely the distance between threads if the propeller were a continuous helix. The second feature that relates to its screw design is that the angle of the blade changes along the radius, so that close to the hub, the angle is very steep and at the tip of the blade it is much more shallow. From a practical standpoint, this means that unless the pitch for a given propeller is known, it requires a trigonometric calculation to determine the pitch empirically. Thirdly, just as screws come in left hand and right hand threads, propellers have the same designation. When facing the water/ air flow if the top of the propeller moves to the right, it is designated Right Hand and if to the left it is Left Hand. (As viewed from the front a right hand propeller turns counterclockwise and a left hand propeller turns clockwise.) Propellers will frequently be stamped as RH or LH.

Propeller and some definitions

Boss or Hub The central portion of a screw propeller to which the blades are attached and through which the driving shaft is fitted. Rake The point displacement, from the propeller plane to the generator line in the direction of the shaft axis. Aft displacement is considered positive rake (see Figure 2). The rake at the blade tip or the rake angle are generally used as measures of the rake. The strength criteria of some classification societies use other definitions for rake.