Propeller Torque & Thrust Measurement Rig

An Example of a Smaller Scale Test Rig Design & Build

Propeller Torque & Thrust Measurement Rig

Antifouling paints are used widely in the marine industry to reduce or eliminate marine growth on structures. These coatings are commonly used on ships hulls and propellers. The Centre for Marine Biofouling and Corrosion are testing and evaluating new coatings and required a test rig to enable the performance of the coatings to be evaluated. Existing rigs are used to rotate propellers for long periods of time. The requirement was to measure any change in torque and thrust of the propellers at monthly intervals on a separate test rig.

Blackfish developed a concept that would enable the propellers to be easily and safely attached and detached, and then the performance to be measured using load cells. The thrust and torque are low (200N, 0,5Nm @150RPM) and so a counterbalanced rig was designed to eliminate the effects of the weight of the rig. The speed of the propeller can be controlled manually, and all speed, torque and thrust data is logged automatically to a spreadsheet file. The rig is designed to be left outside for long periods of time.

Key elements of the work included

  • Design concept idea generation and concept selection.
  • “Homemade” test rig in the office to verify propeller torque characteristics (bucket and weights).
  • 3-D CAD design and manufacturing drawings (turned parts, laser cut profiles, bought in items).
  • Stress hand calculations and FE (ANSYS) to determine shaft resonant frequencies.
  • Electrical cabinet design and build, including power supply, motor controller, encoder, load cell interface, E-stop and laptop power supply, all mounted in an electrical cabinet.
  • Delivery and commissioning on-site.
Blackfish-PML Test Rig 04
Blackfish Engineering CAD Modelling
Blackfish Engineering CAD Modelling
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Customer feedback

"We set Blackfish the tough challenge of designing, fabricating and commissioning a bespoke unit capable of generating precision measurements in a demanding marine field site. The team delivered superbly, which kept our customer happy. We are now working on our next proposal with Blackfish…"

Dr Tom Vance - Centre Manager
Centre for Marine Biofouling and Corrosion