Propellers: Their Function & Working

Propeller - Aviatorsbuzz
Propeller (Source:


What is a propeller and how does it produce thrust?

An aircraft propeller is an aerodynamic device that converts rotational energy into propulsive force creating thrust. It does this by accelerating a large mass of air rearwards. 

The rotational energy can be produced by a piston or gas turbine engine.

Basic construction of a propellor

  • A propeller consists of two or more aerodynamically shaped blades attached to a central hub. Which is then mounted on a shaft driven by the engine.
  • A propeller blade has a root, tip, a leading edge and a cambered cross section. 
  • The chord line is an imaginary line drawn through the blade from its leading edge to its trailing edge. As in a wing, the leading edge is the thick edge of the blade that meets the air as the propeller rotates.
  • Blade angle is the angle between the blade and the plane of rotation, also commonly known as the pitch.
  • Flat portion of the propeller attached to the Hub is known as the Shank.
Blade angle - Aviatorsbuzz
Blade angle (Source:


What is the difference between Geometric Pitch and Effective Pitch

Geometric Pitch Effective Pitch
It is the distance the propeller would travel forward in one complete revolution if it were moving through the air at the blade angle. The distance which it actually moves forward in each revolution is called “ effective pitch”.


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