Date: April 1, 1941
Creator: Dickinson, H. B.
Description: It is shown that on the basis of existing high-speed airfoil data, propeller efficiencies appreciably in excess of 40% do not appear possible at speeds above 500 miles per hour at 20,000 feet. The assumption that present propeller-blade thicknesses cannot be reduced radically, is implied. Until the reliability and applicability of the airfoil data are established, this conclusion must not be regarded as infallible. Dive tests with airplanes equipped with thrust meters and torque meters are proposed to provide an urgently needed check. The design of high-speed propellers is dictated wholly by compressibility considerations. The blade width, thickness, and pitch distribution; also the airfoil sections, the lift coefficient, the propeller diameter, and rpm must all be adjusted if reasonable efficiencies are to be maintained at airplane speeds that are now being approached. Research is urgently needed on: 1) airfoils at subsonic, sonic, and supersonic speeds; 2) propellers at high forward speeds in wind tunnels; 3)propellers in free flight at high speeds; and 4) jet propulsion and related devices. The breakdown of propeller efficiency indicated by airfoil data, should serve as an incentive for accelerated research on jet propulsion. This device may extend the attainable speed of current airplanes to the ...
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