By studying the flow around the revolving propeller blades, an improvement of the propulsion efficiency can be found. We made the propeller blade optimized to get good propulsion efficiency by the Adkins & Liebeck’s propeller theory in low Reynolds number field. We call this blade “Prop00”. In order to investigate the flow around the propeller blades, distributions of pressure on the surface of the revolving propeller blade in some pitch angles were measured by wind tunnel testing. For Prop00, it was observed that the contour lines of Cp are dense near the trailing edge of blade’s tip. And it is thought that the separation may exist around the tip of blade. In order to compare the flow characteristics and to get the hint of improvement of the shape of the propeller blades, three different shape types of propeller blades, rectangle, trapezoid, and inverted trapezoid, were made. We call these blades “Prop01”, “Prop02”, and “Prop03”, respectively. According to the pressure distribution, it’s necessary to improve the shape of the propeller which suppresses the effect by a separation to improve the propulsion efficiency more. We took some photographs of tufts on the revolving blades with stroboscope to investigate vectors of the flow on the blade surface. These photographs are taken under identical conditions of the direct pressure measurement. It was observed that tufts tend to bent to the outer side direction by centrifugal force. However, differences on tufts bending were observed in the regions of the leading and the trailing edges at same radius. The tufts at the trailing edge region more bent to the tip of blade than that at leading edge region. Then, it is thought that separation and crossflow on the blade surface exist. We thought that the stability of the flow around the trailing edge is lost by the separation and the boundary layer transition. Furthermore, universal CFD software is used to study the improvement of the propeller performance. By using FLUENT 6 as universal CFD software, the result of CFD was compared with the result of wind tunnel testing.

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