Development of a simplified procedure for the determination of the ultimate load and associated spindle torque of propeller blades
Blade deflection observed in experiments regarding the ultimate strength of controllable pitch propeller blades does not agree with the one that is assumed in the load case for the blade failure load currently defined in the Polar Class Rules. The reason is that a failure of the blade tip due to large plastic deformation is not taken into account, but can occur in reality if the load is applied relatively close to the trailing edge of skewed propellers. The plastic blade deformation can be computed by numerical simulations using an elastic-plastic material curve. These simulations, however, are time consuming and, hence, unpractical in the daily design process of propeller blades. Therefore, a simplified approach to determine the ultimate load and the associated spindle torque of the blade is presented. It requires elastic finite element (FE) analyses with varying point of load application, geometrical data, and a simplified material curve. The critical blade section is determined from highly stressed locations found in the elastic FE analysis. Afterward, the ultimate bending moment which the section can carry is determined by assuming a linear strain distribution over the thickness and a definite limit strain on the pressure surface. This allows the stress distribution to be transferred directly from the material curve. The ultimate load is determined by integrating the stress distribution over the section thickness and along the chord length, the latter in a simplified way. The approach is supported by various numerical simulations showing the fundamental elastic-plastic behavior of propeller blades and their response due to superimposed bending and torsional loads. In conclusion, the ultimate strength is mainly controlled by bending loads and the approach considers a failure of the blade tip, leading to more realistic spindle torques compared to the approach in the Polar Class Rules.