Propeller Erosion Tape

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HomeBuilt101

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Hi All,

I repainted my composite MT propeller blades and I am looking for a good product to use for blade erosion tape.

The EAA has a good article on this:

http://www.eaavideo.org/detail/videos/feature/video/2616988676001/propeller-erosion-tape

Is the 3M tape the best option for a composite propeller blade?

I have heard stories that propeller blade tape has a slight lip and that it can reduce the efficiency of the propeller and reduce cruise speeds as much as 5 to 10 knots. Is this true?

Some guys have used some kind of epoxy to blend in the transition of the lip however that seems like a PITA.

What is your experience on propeller tape?

THANKS!!!
 

TFF

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3M is all I have ever heard of. Not cheap but cheaper than a prop. Prop might lose a small percent but cheaper than a prop. Truth is fly without and measure; add and measure. Let your pocket book be the guide. Faster and erosion might be more economical than slow and protected. Without data on your plane, you will not know. I bet its not more than a part of a percent.
 

Swampyankee

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There will be an aft-facing step, and there will be some losses as a result, but they'll probably be smaller than the losses from the dings, dents, and blends on the leading edge that would occur without the tape.
 

Turd Ferguson

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I have heard stories that propeller blade tape has a slight lip and that it can reduce the efficiency of the propeller and reduce cruise speeds as much as 5 to 10 knots. Is this true?
Has any research been done on this subject? Testing? Experiments? What were the findings?

McFarlane sells a propeller anti-abrasion tape called "Prop Guard" and they say there is no performance loss. No idea what they use for basis of that claim.
 

Swampyankee

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Has any research been done on this subject? Testing? Experiments? What were the findings?

McFarlane sells a propeller anti-abrasion tape called "Prop Guard" and they say there is no performance loss. No idea what they use for basis of that claim.
Unless there's some sort of tapered edge, there will be an aft-facing step, and there will be a performance loss. It may be undetectably small in service, though, and may require careful tunnel testing to detect it. I'd be very surprised if a company would cough up the million or so for the use of a large enough tunnel to actually try to quantify the loss, which would probably be on the order of tenths of a percent, and less than the loss due to general build-up of cruft and leading edge damage in service.
 

Norman

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If the edge of the tape is in the favorable pressure gradient and the tape is thicker than the momentum thickness (some large % of the boundary layer) it will increase airfoil drag so you may lose some RPM. On the other hand if the prop has laminar separation bubbles and the edge of the tape is not too far upstream drag would decrease and you would gain a few RPM. This all depends on the chord of the prop and how well matched the airfoil is to the Reynolds number. Small props might actually see a slight improvement from the trip at some speeds.
 

Dana

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...On the other hand if the prop has laminar separation bubbles and the edge of the tape is not too far upstream drag would decrease and you would gain a few RPM. This all depends on the chord of the prop and how well matched the airfoil is to the Reynolds number. Small props might actually see a slight improvement from the trip at some speeds.
And there are the people selling "vortex tape" or dimple tape for props with claims to do just that.

Dana
 

BBerson

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If the tapes starts to come off it can reduce climb performance significantly. Tape doesn't usually last long at 400-700 mph.
 

Norman

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And there are the people selling "vortex tape" or dimple tape for props with claims to do just that.

Dana
Turbulator tape only works if you have a large laminar separation bubble AND you put the tape (actually the trailing edge of the tape) in the right place. Generaly a thin smooth airfoil at Reynolds numbers above 200,000 doesn't need a turbulator so I wouldn't expect erosion control tape to have a positive effect on most props.
 
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