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Module 17 Propeller Module17Aand 17B Licence Category A, B1 and B3 Propeller 17.1 Fundamentals Sample Copyright 2014 © Total Training Support Ltd Module 17.1 FundamentalsPage 1
Module 17 Propeller Copyright Notice © Copyright. All worldwide rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any other means whatsoever: i.e. photocopy, electronic, mechanical recording or otherwise without the prior written permission of Total Training Support Ltd. Knowledge Levels — Category A, B1, B2, B3 and C Aircraft Maintenance Licence Basic knowledge for categories A, B1, B2 and B3 are indicated by the allocation of knowledge levels indicators (1, 2 or 3) against each applicable subject. Category C applicants must meet either the category B1 or the category B2 basic knowledge levels. The knowledge level indicators are defined as follows: LEVEL 1 A familiarization with the principal elements of the subject. Objectives: The applicant should be familiar with the basic elements of the subject. The applicant should be able to give a simple description of the whole subject, using common words and examples. The applicant should be able to use typical terms. LEVEL 2 A general knowledge of the theoretical and practical aspects of the subject. An ability to apply that knowledge. Objectives: The applicant should be able to understand the theoretical fundamentals of the subject. The applicant should be able to give a general description of the subject using, as appropriate, typical examples. The applicant should be able to use mathematical formulae in conjunction with physical laws describing the subject. The applicant should be able to read and understand sketches, drawings and schematics describing the subject. The applicant should be able to apply his knowledge in a practical manner using detailed procedures. LEVEL 3 A detailed knowledge of the theoretical and practical aspects of the subject. A capacity to combine and apply the separate elements of knowledge in a logical and comprehensive manner. Objectives: The applicant should know the theory of the subject and interrelationships with other subjects. The applicant should be able to give a detailed description of the subject using theoretical fundamentals and specific examples. The applicant should understand and be able to use mathematical formulae related to the subject. The applicant should be able to read, understand and prepare sketches, simple drawings and schematics describing the subject. The applicant should be able to apply his knowledge in a practical manner using manufacturer's instructions. The applicant should be able to interpret results from various sources and measurements and apply corrective action where appropriate. Sample Copyright 2014 © Total Training Support Ltd Module 17.1 FundamentalsPage 2
Module 17 Propeller Module 17.1 Enabling Objectives and Certification Statement Certification Statement These Study Notes comply with the syllabus of EASA Regulation (EC) No.2042/2003 Annex III (Part-66) Appendix I, as amended by Regulation (EC) No.1149/2011, and the associated Knowledge Levels as specified below: Sample Copyright 2014 © Total Training Support Ltd Module 17.1 FundamentalsPage 3 Objective Part-66 Reference Licence Category AB1B3 Fundamentals17.1122 Blade element theory; High/low blade angle, reverse angle, angle of attack, rotational speed; Propeller slip; Aerodynamic, centrifugal, and thrust forces; Torque; Relative airflow on blade angle of attack; Vibration and resonance.
Module 17 Propeller Table of Contents Chapter 17.1 Fundamentals 6 Introduction 6 Propulsive Force 6 Propeller Terms 8 Effective Pitch, Geometric Pitch and Slip 10 Angle of Attack 12 Propeller Configuration 11 Pusher 14 Tractor 14 Contra-Rotating 16 Counter-Rotating 16 Propeller Solidity 16 Propeller Clearances 18 Right and Left Handed Propellers 20 The Blade Element 20 Blade Angle and Blade Pitch 22 Blade Twist 22 Forces on a Blade Element 24 Variation of Propeller Efficiency with Speed 26 Windmilling 26 Feathering 28 Reverse Thrust 28 Forces Acting on the Propeller 28 Centrifugal Force 28 Thrust Bending Force 30 Torque Bending Force 30 Aerodynamic Twisting Moment (ATM) 32 Centrifugal Twisting Moment (CTM) 32 Turning Moments in the Windmill Condition 32 Pitch Range 34 Handling Effects - Single Engine Aircraft 36 Asymmetric Effect (P-Factor) 36 Slipstream Effect 36 Torque Reaction 36 Gyroscopic Effect 38 Thrust and Power Development 40 Power Development in Piston Engines 40 Power Development in Turboprop Engines 40 Turboprop Configurations 43 Vibrational Forces and Resonance 44 Glossary 47 Sample Copyright 2014 © Total Training Support Ltd Module 17.1 FundamentalsPage 4
Module 17 Propeller Intentionally Blank Sample Copyright 2014 © Total Training Support Ltd Module 17.1 FundamentalsPage 5
Module 17 Propeller Chapter 17.1 Fundamentals Introduction Throughout the development of controlled flight as we know it, every aircraft required some kind of device to convert engine power to some form of thrust. Nearly all of the early practical aircraft designs used propellers to create this thrust. As the science of aeronautics progressed, propeller designs improved from flat boards, which merely pushed the air backwards, to aerofoil shapes. These aerofoils produced lift to pull the aircraft forward through aerodynamic action. As aircraft designs improved, propellers were developed which used thinner aerofoil sections and had greater strength. Because of its structural strength, these improvements brought the aluminium alloy propeller into wide usage. The advantage of being able to change the propeller blade angle in flight led to wide acceptance of the two-position propeller and, later, the constant speed propeller system. Today, propeller designs continue to be improved by the use of new composite materials, new aerofoil shapes and multi blade configurations. Propulsive Force A propeller is a means of converting engine power into propulsive force. A rotating propeller imparts rearward motion to a mass of air and the reaction to this is a forward force on the propeller blades. A propeller moves a large mass of air rearward, at a relatively slow speed, as opposed to a gas turbine engine, which moves a small mass of air rearward at a high speed. Thrust = Mass(V o – V I ) Sample Copyright 2014 © Total Training Support Ltd Module 17.1 FundamentalsPage 6
Module 17 Propeller Figure 1.1: Thrust from a propeller Figure 1.2: Blade Terms Sample Copyright 2014 © Total Training Support Ltd Module 17.1 FundamentalsPage 7
Module 17 Propeller Propeller Terms Before starting any discussion about propellers, it is necessary to define some basic terms to avoid confusion and misunderstanding. A propeller is a rotating aerofoil that consists of two or more blades attached to a central hub which is mounted on the engine crankshaft. The function of the propeller is to convert engine power to useful thrust. Propeller blades have a leading edge, trailing edge, a tip, a shank, a face, and a back. Blade angle is the angle between the propeller’s plane of rotation, and the chord line of the propeller aerofoil. Blade station is a reference position on a blade that is a specified distance from the centre of the hub. Pitch is the distance (in inches or millimetres) that a propeller section will move forward in one revolution. Pitch distribution is the gradual twist in the propeller blade from shank to tip. Sample Copyright 2014 © Total Training Support Ltd Module 17.1 FundamentalsPage 8
Module 17 Propeller Figure 1.3: Blade Terms Sample Copyright 2014 © Total Training Support Ltd Module 17.1 FundamentalsPage 9
Module 17 Propeller Effective Pitch, Geometric Pitch and Slip Since the angle of a propeller blade varies along its length, a particular blade station must be chosen to specify the pitch of a blade. Rather than using blade angles at a reference station, some propeller manufacturers express pitch in inches at 75% of the radius. This is the geometric pitch, or the distance this particular element would move forward in one revolution along a helix, or spiral, determined by its blade angle. The effective pitch is the actual distance a propeller advances through the air in one revolution. This cannot be determined by the pitch angle alone because it is affected by the forward velocity of the aeroplane and air density. The difference between geometric and effective pitch is called propeller slip. If a propeller has a pitch of 50 inches, in theory it should move forward 50 inches in one revolution. But if the aircraft actually moves forward only 35 inches in one revolution the effective pitch is 35 inches and the propeller efficiency is 70%. Sample Copyright 2014 © Total Training Support Ltd Module 17.1 FundamentalsPage 10
Module 17 Propeller Figure 1.4: Effective pitch, Geometric pitch and Slip (measured at Master Station) Sample Copyright 2014 © Total Training Support Ltd Module 17.1 FundamentalsPage 11
Module 17 Propeller Angle of Attack Thrust produced by a propeller, in the same way as lift produced by a wing, is determined by the blade’s angle of attack. It is the acute angle between the chord line of a propeller blade and the relative wind. Angle of attack relates to the blade pitch angle, but it is not a fixed angle. It varies with the forward speed of the aeroplane and the RPM of the propeller. As an example, when there is no forward speed, angle of attack (α) and blade pitch angle are the same, 20°. When the aeroplane is moving forward at 60 knots, angle of attack becomes much less than the blade pitch angle (see figure 1.5). Sample Copyright 2014 © Total Training Support Ltd Module 17.1 FundamentalsPage 12
Module 17 Propeller Figure 1.5: Angle of Attack at different forward speeds Sample Copyright 2014 © Total Training Support Ltd Module 17.1 FundamentalsPage 13
Module 17 Propeller Propeller Configuration There are four main propeller configurations: Pusher Tractor Contra-Rotating Counter-Rotating All the above types can be between two and five bladed propellers, but usually small two blade propellers are used on small piston engines and three, four or five bladed propellers are used for high powered piston or gas turbine engines. Pusher A little confusing, as it is sometimes known as the ‘Propeller’. This type, as the name implies, pushes the airframe through the air and is usually fitted behind the mainplane. Tractor This type pulls the airframe through the air and is usually fitted forward of the mainplane. Sample Copyright 2014 © Total Training Support Ltd Module 17.1 FundamentalsPage 14
Module 17 Propeller Figure 1.6: Pusher propellers on the Piaggio P.180 Avanti Figure 1.7: The Cessna 337 Skymaster has a pusher AND a tractor propeller Sample Copyright 2014 © Total Training Support Ltd Module 17.1 FundamentalsPage 15
Module 17 Propeller Contra-Rotating This configuration is where there are two propeller units on one shaft, driven by the same engine, but rotating in opposite directions. This gives the advantage of reducing the disc area, but maintaining the thrust to enable lower undercarriage configurations to be used or higher RPM’s from the engine due to reduced tip speed. When a propeller has more than six blades, it becomes inefficient, a contra- rotating propeller is also a method of overcoming this problem. The rear propeller is usually of a smaller diameter than the front propeller, so the blade tips will not be affected by air vortices from the front propeller tips. Counter-Rotating With a large rotating mass such as a propeller, it will produce a significant turning moment or torque on the airframe. To overcome this problem on multi-engined aircraft, counter rotating propellers are often used. In this system you would have, for example, the port engine propeller rotating clockwise and the starboard engine propeller rotating anti-clockwise, thus balancing the torque effects. Propeller Solidity Solidity is the term used to describe the ability of the propeller to absorb power from the engine. For example a C130 propeller will require high solidity, whilst a Cessna 150 will be somewhat less. Solidity is defined as ‘The surface area of the propeller divided by the surface area of the propeller disc’ Solidity may be increased by: Increasing number of blades (limited by hub strength so contra-rotating is an option) Increasing the chord of the blades (C130 uses ‘paddle’ type blades) Increasing the length of the blades (Limited by tips going sonic and ground clearance). Sample Copyright 2014 © Total Training Support Ltd Module 17.1 FundamentalsPage 16
Module 17 Propeller Figure 1.8: The Contra-rotating propeller of the P51 Unlimited Racer Figure 1.9: Counter-rotating propellers Figure 1.10: Solidity Sample Copyright 2014 © Total Training Support Ltd Module 17.1 FundamentalsPage 17
Module 17 Propeller Propeller Clearances Ground Clearance The clearance that exists between the propeller tip and the ground when the aircraft is in the normal flying attitude is termed ground clearance. On an aircraft with a tail wheel configuration, it would have to be in the takeoff position to measure the ground clearance. Fuselage Clearance With a multi-engined aircraft, this is the clearance between the side of fuselage and the propeller tip. Sample Copyright 2014 © Total Training Support Ltd Module 17.1 FundamentalsPage 18
Module 17 Propeller Ref EASA CS 25.925 Figure 1.11: Propeller clearances Sample Copyright 2014 © Total Training Support Ltd Module 17.1 FundamentalsPage 19
Module 17 Propeller Right and Left Handed Propellers A right handed propeller is one which rotates in a clockwise direction when viewed from aft - looking forward. A left handed propeller is one which rotates in an anti-clockwise direction when viewed from aft - looking forward. The Blade Element The aerodynamics of the propeller can most easily be understood by considering the motion of an element, or section of the propeller blade. Because the blade section of a propeller is an aerofoil section its aerodynamics can be studied in the same way, using the same terms. Rotational Velocity When the aircraft is stationary the motion of the element is purely rotational. At a given RPM the velocity of the blade element increases as it moves towards the blade tip. Shock wave effects as the tip speed approaches Mach 1 limit the length of blade. In addition there is the obvious limitation of tip to ground clearance. Forward Velocity When the propeller is stationary the forward velocity is entirely the due to the forward speed of the aircraft (TAS). However when the propeller is rotating and therefore drawing air through the blade disc then there is an additional induced airflow. Sample Copyright 2014 © Total Training Support Ltd Module 17.1 FundamentalsPage 20
Module 17 Propeller Figure 1.12: Aerofoil Terms Figure 1.13: Airflow Components Sample Copyright 2014 © Total Training Support Ltd Module 17.1 FundamentalsPage 21
Module 17 Propeller Blade Angle and Blade Pitch In order to develop the required aerodynamic force on the blade element it must be set at a small positive angle of attack to the resultant relative airflow. The Helix Angle plus the angle of attack equals the blade angle, which is more usually known as blade pitch. A blade element advances through space as though it was prescribing a helix. If it were 100% efficient then the distance it moves in 1-revolution is called the Geometric Pitch. However all blades have tip losses that cause Slip, resulting in a forward distance moved per revolution called Effective Pitch. Blade Twist Earlier it was stated that the rotational velocity increases with distance towards the blade tip. It is necessary therefore to reduce the blade angle towards the tip in order to maintain an efficient angle of attack (4 o - 6 o is the norm). This is the reason for the twist on a blade as shown in figure 1.15. Sample Copyright 2014 © Total Training Support Ltd Module 17.1 FundamentalsPage 22
Module 17 Propeller Figure 1.14: Blade Angle pitch relationships Figure 1.15: Blade Twist Sample Copyright 2014 © Total Training Support Ltd Module 17.1 FundamentalsPage 23
Module 17 Propeller Forces on a Blade Element The aerodynamic force produced by setting the blade element at a small positive angle of attack – i.e. the total reaction - may be resolved with respect to the direction of motion of the aircraft. The component thus obtained which is parallel to the flight path is the thrust force, and that which remains is the propeller torque force. Notice that the propeller torque force is the resistance to motion in the plane of rotation. Sample Copyright 2014 © Total Training Support Ltd Module 17.1 FundamentalsPage 24
Module 17 Propeller Figure 1.16: Blade Twist Figure 1.17: Effect of speed on a fixed pitch propeller Sample Copyright 2014 © Total Training Support Ltd Module 17.1 FundamentalsPage 25
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