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Module 17 –PROPELLER

CATEGORY B1– MECHANICAL Sub Module 17.2 – PROPELLER CONSTRUCTION

MODULE 17

SUB MODULE 17.2

PROPELLER CONSTRUCTION

Rev. 00 17.2
Oct 2006 For Training Purposes Only
Module 17 – PROPELLER
CATEGORY B1– MECHANICAL Sub Module 17.2 – PROPELLER CONSTRUCTION

Contents Page
Propeller Materials And Construction ..........................................2
Metal Propellers ............................................................................2
Composite Propeller Blades..........................................................4
Hartzell Blade Construction..........................................................4
Hamilton-Standard Blade Construction ........................................6
Dowty Rotol Blade Construction ..................................................6
Propeller Shafts .............................................................................8
Propeller Spinners .......................................................................10

Rev. 00 i
17.2
Oct 2006 For Training Purposes Only
Module 17 – PROPELLER
CATEGORY B1– MECHANICAL Sub Module 17.2 – PROPELLER CONSTRUCTION

“The training notes and diagrams are


compiled by SriLankan Technical Training
and although comprehensive in detail, they
are intended for use only with a Course of
instruction. When compiled, they are as up to
date as possible, and amendments to the
training notes and diagrams will NOT be
issued”.

Rev. 00 1
17.2
Oct 2006 For Training Purposes Only
Module 17 – PROPELLER
CATEGORY B1– MECHANICAL Sub Module 17.2 – PROPELLER CONSTRUCTION

PROPELLER MATERIALS AND CONSTRUCTION METAL PROPELLERS


For decades, propellers used on low-powered engines were Improvements in metallurgy and manufacturing techniques have
made of laminated hardwood and had a fixed pitch. When more enabled metal propellers to replace wood propellers for modern
power had to be absorbed, propellers made of metal became commercially manufactured aircraft. Figure 17.24 shows a metal
widely used, with forged aluminium alloy being the most popular construction propeller blade.
metal.
Metal propellers are forged from high-strength aluminium alloy,
Some of the most modern blades are made of composite and after being ground to their finished dimensions and pitch,
materials. Composite blades are much lighter than metal blades are anodised to protect them from corrosion. Metal propellers
and capable of absorbing the same amount of power. The lighter cost more than wood for the same engine and aeroplane, but
blades impose less centrifugal loading on the hub, allowing it to their increased durability, resistance to weathering, and ability to
be made lighter. They have a very low notch sensitivity, and their be straightened after minor damage have made them more cost
foam cores absorb much of the vibration that would damage effective in the long term.
metal propellers. While composite blades currently cost more
Some propellers have blades made of steel with the blade
than metal blades, their greater efficiency and longer life make
halves stamped of thin sheet steel and brazed together along the
them much more cost effective.
leading and trailing edges. The blade shell is then installed over
a tubular steel shank. A few propellers with hollow steel blades
are still flying, but these are usually found only on special-
purpose aeroplanes.

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Module 17 – PROPELLER
CATEGORY B1– MECHANICAL Sub Module 17.2 – PROPELLER CONSTRUCTION

Fig 17.24

Rev. 00 3
17.2
Oct 2006 For Training Purposes Only
Module 17 – PROPELLER
CATEGORY B1– MECHANICAL Sub Module 17.2 – PROPELLER CONSTRUCTION

COMPOSITE PROPELLER BLADES HARTZELL BLADE CONSTRUCTION


Laminated wood, forged aluminium alloy, and brazed sheet steel The typical Hartzell composite propeller, like that in Figures
propellers have been standard for decades. But the powerful 17.25 and 17.26, has a machined aluminium alloy shank, and
turboprop engines and the demands for higher-speed flight and moulded into this shank is a low density foam core. Slots are cut
quieter operation have caused propeller manufacturers to exploit into the foam core and unidirectional Kevlar shear webs are
the advantages of modern advanced composite materials. inserted. The leading and trailing edges are solid sections made
of unidirectional Kevlar and laminations of pre-impregnated
Composite materials used in the propeller manufacturing consist
material are cut and laid up over the core foundation to provide
of two constituents: the fibres and the matrix. The fibres most
the correct blade thickness, aerofoil shape, pitch distribution,
generally used are glass, graphite and aramid (Kevlar), and the
planform and ply orientation.
matrix is a thermosetting resin such as epoxy.
The outer shell is held in place on the aluminium alloy shank by
The strength and stiffness of the blades are determined by the
Kevlar filaments impregnated with epoxy resin wound around the
material, diameter and orientation of the fibres. The matrix
portion of the shell that grips the shank. Some Hartzell blades
material supports the fibres, holds them in place and completely
have a stainless steel mesh under the final layer of Kevlar to
encapsulates them for environmental protection. Because the
protect against abrasion, and a nickel leading edge erosion
fibres have strength only parallel to their length, they are
shield is bonded in place. The entire blade is put into a blade
arranged in such a way that they can sustain tensile loads.
press and cured under computer-controlled heat and pressure.
Figure 17.27 shows the method of blade retention of a Hartzell
composite propeller blade.

Rev. 00 4
17.2
Oct 2006 For Training Purposes Only
Module 17 – PROPELLER
CATEGORY B1– MECHANICAL Sub Module 17.2 – PROPELLER CONSTRUCTION

Fig 17.25

Fig 17.26

Fig 17.27

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Oct 2006 For Training Purposes Only
Module 17 – PROPELLER
CATEGORY B1– MECHANICAL Sub Module 17.2 – PROPELLER CONSTRUCTION

HAMILTON-STANDARD BLADE CONSTRUCTION DOWTY ROTOL BLADE CONSTRUCTION


The Hamilton-Standard blade has tremendous strength and The Dowty Rotol composite propeller blade has two carbon fibre
fatigue resistance because of its solid aluminium alloy spar spars that run the length of the blade on both the face and back
enclosed in a glass fibre shell (Figure 17.28). The spar is and come smoothly together at the blade root (Figure 17.29).
machined to its correct configuration and placed in a mould The carbon fibres and pre-impregnated glass fibre cloth are laid
cavity, and the core foam is injected around it. The foam is cured with the correct number of plies and the correct ply orientation
and removed from the mould. Glass fibre cloth, with the correct and are placed in a mould. Polyurethane foam is injected into the
number of plies and the proper ply orientation, is then laid over inside of the blade, and the entire unit is cured under heat and
the cured core. The complete item is then placed in a second pressure.
mould that has the shape of the finished blade. The resin matrix
The Dowty Rotol blade is secured in the hub by expanding the
is injected to impregnate all the fibres, and is cured with heat and
carbon fibre spars with tapered glass fibre wedges and locking
pressure.
them between the inner and outer sleeves (Figure 17.30).

Rev. 00 6
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Oct 2006 For Training Purposes Only
Module 17 – PROPELLER
CATEGORY B1– MECHANICAL Sub Module 17.2 – PROPELLER CONSTRUCTION

Fig 17.28

Fig 17.30

Fig 17.29

Rev. 00 7
17.2
Oct 2006 For Training Purposes Only
Module 17 – PROPELLER
CATEGORY B1– MECHANICAL Sub Module 17.2 – PROPELLER CONSTRUCTION

PROPELLER SHAFTS The inside of the propeller hub is splined to match the shaft and
the hub is centred on the shaft with two cones (Figure 17.33).
Most modern engines, both reciprocating and turbine, have
The rear cone is a single-piece split bronze cone, and is
flanged propeller shafts. Some of these flanges have integral
considered to be part of the engine. The front is a two piece
internally threaded bushings that fit into counterbores in the rear
hardened steel cone and is considered to be part of the
of the propeller hub around each bolt hole. Propellers with these
propeller. The two halves are marked with the same serial
bushings are attached to the shaft with long bolts that pass
number to ensure that only a matched set is used. Prior to
through the propeller. On others the flange has a ring of holes
attaching this type of propeller, a check is carried out to ensure
and bolts pass from the engine side into threads in the propeller.
correct contact of the cones.
Some flanges have index pins in the propeller flange so the
Engineers blue is applied to the cones and the propeller is fitted
propeller can be installed in only one position relative to the
and torque loaded. The propeller is then removed and visually
shaft. See Figure 17.31. This is done for synchronising and/or
inspected to ensure that there is an even contact of 80% as seen
synchrophasing.
by the blue around the cone on the propeller. If 80% of contact is
The most popular type of propeller shaft on the larger turboprop not in evidence then the cone can be ‘stoned’ to fit, or replaced.
engines is the splined shaft. The sizes of splined shafts are
identified by an SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) number,
SAE 20 splines are used on engines in the 200-horsepowered
range; SAE 30 splines are used in the 300- and 400-
horsepowered range, and SAE 40 in the 500- and 600-
horsepowered range. SAE 50 in the 1,000-horsepowered range
and SAE 60 and 70 are used for larger engines.
Splines are longitudinal grooves cut in the periphery of the shaft.
The grooves and lands (the space between the grooves), as
shown in Figure 17.32 are the same size, and one groove is
either missing or has a screw in it to form a master spline. The
purpose of the master spline is the same as the index pin.

Rev. 00 8
17.2
Oct 2006 For Training Purposes Only
Module 17 – PROPELLER
CATEGORY B1– MECHANICAL Sub Module 17.2 – PROPELLER CONSTRUCTION

Fig 17.31

Fig 17.33

Fig 17.32

Rev. 00 9
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Oct 2006 For Training Purposes Only
Module 17 – PROPELLER
CATEGORY B1– MECHANICAL Sub Module 17.2 – PROPELLER CONSTRUCTION

PROPELLER SPINNERS
All modern propeller-driven aircraft have spinners over their
propeller hubs. These spinners have the dual aerodynamic
function of streamlining the engine installation and directing cool
air into the openings in the cowling. Figures 17.34 and 17.35
show a typical spinner installation over a constant speed
propeller.
The spinner bulkhead is installed on the propeller shaft flange
and held in place by attaching bolts. The propeller is then
installed so that the dowel pins in the propeller hub align with the
holes in the flange. The propeller attaching nuts are installed and
tightened to the torque value specified in the aircraft
maintenance manual. If a spinner support is required, it is
installed and the spinner is secured to the bulkhead with the
correct fixing screws.
The propeller spinner and bulkhead are critical components, and
cracks in either one can be repaired only if they do not exceed
the allowable limits. Repairs can be performed using the
procedures in the aircraft maintenance manual, although special
care must be taken not to add weight where it could cause
vibration.

Rev. 00 10
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Oct 2006 For Training Purposes Only
Module 17 – PROPELLER
CATEGORY B1– MECHANICAL Sub Module 17.2 – PROPELLER CONSTRUCTION

Fig 17.35

Fig 17.34

Rev. 00 11
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Oct 2006 For Training Purposes Only