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propellers - carbon vs. wood


calcifer
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Hello to everybody.

From what I've learnt up to now, there are only few differences between carbon fiber and wood laminate propellers. I'll try to resume what I've understood, to check if I'm right :

WOOD LAMINATE :

pros : lighter, cheaper, less "dangerous" in case of breackage

cons : flexes much more under dynamic charge, less resistant to wear

CARBON FIBER :

pros : much "rigid" structure, causing less flexion and higher propulsion under charge, much resistant to wear

cons : heavier, costs much more, dangerous in case of breackage

according to the above, even in consideration of the fact that a carbon one costs almost the double of a wooden one, my choice would absolutely be the wood...

Any consideration ??

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Are carbon props heavier? I always thought they were lighter...

Been using wooden props for 10 years +, and no inclination to change.

Repairs and balancing on wooden props is very easy.

Another point- you need to be careful with moisture ingression on wooden props.

Always store them horizontally on the paramotor - otherwise moisture can migrate from one side to the other, and cause imbalance.

GD

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Are carbon props heavier? I always thought they were lighter...

this is what I've been told.....

you need to be careful with moisture ingression on wooden props.

Always store them horizontally on the paramotor - otherwise moisture can migrate from one side to the other, and cause imbalance.

GD

didn't know this thing.... there's always something to learn..! :)

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Certainly in the school we only use wood.

Yes the new ones are lighter and cheaper and less dangerous if they break.

Carbon easier to transport as they split and are shorter, but otherwise I Prefer the new wood laminate props.

Again its down the individual prop. There are bad and good ones wood and carbon. Use the one recommend by your manufacturer as they wouldnhave tested loads!

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thanks for the confirmations on the matter, chilly ! :wink:

I would add one more advantage for the carbon propellers... they surely have a more "professional" look.

But on the other side, the wooden ones are the choiche for the lovers of the "old fashion" style ! :D

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Wooden are identical in weight and the badly made 'carbon coated' fiberglass props can actually weigh more.

Im my opinion Carbon is a safer option that wood for the following reason.

Wood splinters and when the prop breaks it can and often does spilt into an almost perfect large spike which has enough mass to cover distance at speed.

Carbon props tend to snap tips off but splits rarely result in a spike leaving the scene of the crime. the much smaller particles have much less mass and tent to stay close to the accident.

It's not about repairability, it's about safety in my view as a school.

SW :D

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First off not carbon, rather glass fibre compersite.

My experience with composite propellers is that they normally snap off in big pieces and then travel some distance or they split then flail and destroy everything in its path. And for that reason myself and many other instructors can't advocate the use of composite props in a busy school environment.

Wood props normally splinter and de-energises quicker with less damage and risk to bystanders.

But not all wood props are the same in exactly the same way all compersite are not the same.

For the Bulldog we only use a well made hardwood multi eliminate prop that performs as well as any compersite prop, but is not as resilient to damage, which is exactly what we need in the school environment.

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I have had both on my Miniplane. The carbon prop (E-prop) is significantly lighter and so spools up more quickly, giving an instant boost that is sometimes fun to use. But carbon props are more expensive to replace if you should break one.

I prefer the look of the wooden prop, it's more 'magnificent men in their flying machines'.

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I guess we will have to disagree with that one Clive. :-)

I pains me to say that as one of the busiest schools in the country we have also seen many many props broken.

I have seen half a wooden prop cover a vast distance and land, spiked into the ground.... And lots of other large wooden spikes.

I have seen many many carbon ones split into small parts.

I have never seen a carbon one (or glass composite) destroy everything in its path.

I have never seen a carbon composite prop cover anything more than a few feet of distance from the accident.

I do think that we have seen more props broken in the last 8 years than any one else.

I may be wrong of course, but it would contradict my vast experience in this matter.

SW :D

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I have seen wood props break up on contact with Paraglider lines where as a carbon one would strum the line and be none the worse. Old style carbon props weigh much the same as woodies and as pointed out are not really carbon, just a layer to look good. Pros to carbon. 2pc. Generally stronger. Usually more thrust if we're talking helix or e-prop. But not always. Some woodies are pretty good.

E-props are the ones to come along and actually make a difference. Real carbon, less weight and that spool up. It really shows on small clutched engines.

If you break half, you only need to buy half, that's if you can't repair it.

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Oh and the lack of weight not only helps spool up but also reduces torque effect during that spool up.

There is a price difference but against a good woody it's smaller than first thought.

Quality wood prop £215

Carbon E-prop £320

Helix £310

Cheap woody £120

Cheap carbon £210

I would say the cheap options are really not going to help. Lack of power, easily loosing 5kg of thrust, out of balance, this can damage your engine, fragile, fly apart purely under thrust, heavy giving slow spool up and extra clutch wear. Only useful for a school practice machine which is getting abused anyway.

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