Loiretech, Naval Group and Méca presented their new composite for propellers under the FabHeli project, an innovative French project they partnered together for in 2016. The carbon fiber reinforced polymers (CFRPs) used as new material for propellers are said to be stronger than the traditionally applied nickel aluminum bronze (NAB) material.
The nautical sector has already seen the use of composites for hulls of smaller boats and yachts, but only recently has research focused on composite materials for boat propellers. Such materials have been proven to have a higher resistance to corrosion than metallic materials.
In March 2018, the FabHeli propellers went through sea trials, conducted using a one-meter diameter composite propeller that enabled a passenger ship, the Palais—30 meters long and weighing 84 tons, with two 1,100 HP engines—to cover the Lorient-Brest route at a speed of 21 knots. Trials ended on a highly satisfactory note, according to the company, with the propeller fully intact. The partner companies now plan to manufacture full-scale composite propellers. Learn more about the project in this video: