Propeller Innovation by Engineering Students

Posted on March 28, 2008  Comments (0)

Innovation propels students’ careers

Four fifth-year students from the electrical and mechanical departments won a national innovation competition and are now in preliminary talks with oil and gas behemoth Shell for a propeller design that is more efficient, watertight, pressurized and powerful than other models. “The motor housing creates drag (on other models),” said electrical engineering student Dave Shea. “So we integrated it into the propeller itself. There’s no drag, there’s no dead zone. It’s also much bigger and more powerful.”

Most propellers have a body encasing the motor. There’s air inside, which can cause the body to collapse when submerged in oceanic depths. The casing also creates drag, slowing the machine down and making it difficult to move backward.

But Shea, along with Brian Claus, Peter Crocker and Toren Gustafson, devised a way to build the motor in the casing that surrounds the propeller blades. The parts are assembled in a ring shape then encased in epoxy, making the motor waterproof. The propeller is fastened inside the ring, allowing it to easily move forward or backward.

Related: PhD Student Speeds up Broadband by 200 timesSingapore Students Engineer New ProductsConcentrating Solar Collector wins UW-Madison Engineering Innovation Award

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