Efficiencies – Propulsive Efficiency

in Aircraft Engines

A propeller is used with an engine to provide thrust. The engine supplies bhp through a rotating shaft, and the propeller absorbs the bhp and converts it into thrust hp. In this conversion, some power is wasted. Since the efficiency of any machine is the ratio of useful power output to the power input, propulsive efficiency (in this case, propeller efficiency) is the ratio of thrust hp to bhp. On the average, thrust hp constitutes approximately 80 percent of the bhp. The other 20 percent is lost in friction and slippage. Controlling the blade angle of the propeller is the best method of obtaining maximum propulsive efficiency for all conditions encountered in flight.

During takeoff, when the aircraft is moving at low speeds and when maximum power and thrust are required, a low propeller blade angle gives maximum thrust. For highspeed flying or diving, the blade angle is increased to obtain maximum thrust and efficiency. The constant-speed propeller is used to give required thrust at maximum efficiency for all flight conditions.