ClassNK and Nakashima install carbon fibre reinforced plastic propeller

1 September 2014 (Last Updated September 1st, 2014 18:30)

Classification society ClassNK and Nakashima Propeller have successfully installed a carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) propeller on the main propulsion system of a merchant vessel.

Classification society ClassNK and Nakashima Propeller have successfully installed a carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) propeller on the main propulsion system of a merchant vessel.

The CFRP propeller was manufactured by Nakashima with support from ClassNK. It was installed on the Taiko Maru, a domestic 499 GT chemical tanker of Sowa Kaiun YK of the Marugame-based Koa industry company, in May 2014.

The CFRP provides the same strength of aluminum-bronze composite materials used in conventional propellers along with its ultra-lightweight composition.

"The propeller’s sturdy and thin blades provide better fuel economy and greater efficiency in operations."

Capable of achieving greater efficiency in maritime operations, the propeller’s sturdy and thin blades feature an increased diameter, similar to the wings of a Boeing 787 aircraft.

It provides better fuel economy and greater efficiency in operations as it only requires 9% less horsepower to operate than the conventional one.

The decision of Sowa Kaiun YK to install CFRP propeller technology at Taiko Maru was a result of the successful performance of previously installed CFRP propellers in its side thrusters in September 2012.

Nippon Foundation and the Japan Ship Machinery & Equipment Association (JSMEA) supported the research and development of the use of CFRP propellers for merchant vessels from 2007 to 2011.

From 2012 onwards, this continued as a joint research project and was carried out by Nakashima, the University of Tokyo School of Engineering, Japan’s National Maritime Research Institute (NMRI), NYK Line, MTI, Imabari Shipbuilding and ClassNK.