Composite Propellers for Naval Vessels


  1. Koko, T.S.
  2. Shahin, K.O.
  3. Yuen, B.K.
  4. Norwood, M.E.
  5. Gilroy, L.
Corporate Authors
Defence Research and Development Canada, Atlantic Research Centre, Halifax NS (CAN);Lloyd's Register Applied Technology Group, Halifax NS (CAN)
There are a number of issues with current Nickel Aluminum Bronze (NAB) submarine propellers including cavitation and vibration, electric signature, and possibly excess weight. A possible solution to all of these is to fabricate the entire propeller (or a significant portion) out of composite materials such as carbon fibre. For naval applications, propellers fabricated of composites could reduce/eliminate electric signatures and the need for corrosion protection. Furthermore, a lighter propeller would result in a potential improvement in draft or loading capacity while reducing bearing loads, and would also allow for thicker blade sections which may end up improving cavitation performance. The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) has an interest to investigate the design/analysis of various composite propeller configurations in order to achieve the required strength, vibration, weight, and other performance criteria. Due to the complexity of naval propeller geometric configurations, RCN has, in collaboration with Lloyd’s Register ATG, developed the PVAST software tool to facilitate the development of propeller finite element models for use with the Trident FEA solver. The developed tool was used to model and evaluate a number of composite propeller configurations against a legacy NAB propeller on a naval research vessel. The materials considered included glass-fibre reinforced plastic (GFRP), carbon-fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP), and very high modulus (VHM) CFRP. Finite element model
composite propellers;glass reinforced fibres;carbon reinforced fibres;bronze;acoustic signatures;electric signatures
Report Number
DRDC-RDDC-2015-N052 — External Literature
Date of publication
02 Nov 2017
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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