A Safety Propeller invented by Australian Colin Chamberlain has won the 2009 Invention of the Year on the ABC's television show, The New Inventors.
The Safety Propeller is a new propeller that will not cut, injure or kill people or marine life. It is almost identical to regular propellers in its construction, and will perform equally as well, but a slight yet crucial design variation allows a person to stick their limbs directly into the propellerís way without any harm.
The Safety Propeller looks and works like a normal propeller. It is made of the same material, and works equally effectively in terms of speed. However, a crucial alteration in the design of the blades allows a person to literally put their arm into the blades without sustaining any injuries. The propeller keeps moving as normal, but people and marine life will be unharmed.
The invention is a near-standard propeller design with no moving parts. The propeller does not stop turning when it comes in contact with people or marine animals due to the redesign of the leading edge of the propeller blades.
The Safety Propeller has a round or blunt striking surface, unlike a standard blade design, which has a thin edge which sharpens itself as the propeller is used. The round design has a tendency to flatten over time with use, making it even less dangerous when coming in contact with people or marine animals. This design cannot cut or sever limbs or other parts of people or marine life.
The simple redesign of the leading edge of the propeller blades can be manufactured easily from a slightly modified standard propeller mould, and is cost effective. The design is suitable across the full range of propeller design from 2 HP boats to a container ship.
The invention also helps to reduce another life-threatening problem, that of cavitation. Cavitation results from the formation of vapour bubbles around the propeller, which can cause the motor to stall, and potentially lead to a boat capsizing. On normal propellers cavitation can lead to total loss of power or thrust to the vessel. This loss of thrust is a common cause of boats capsizing on bar crossings and at sea with many lives lost and loss of boats.
The Safety Propeller has slots in the face of the blade. This is also an additional part of the inventionís patent. The slot design helps the propeller to release excessive water pressure from the face of the blade, allowing this pressure to pass through the gaps. The Safety Propeller was tested for loss of speed and was shown to have a negligible effect on the speed of the boat, a huge advantage compared to propeller guards.
Colin Chamberlain works in power line construction, but he has loved boating all his life. He patented his first invention 20 years ago and has continued to invent since. In his spare time he enjoys fishing, motorbike riding and building things.
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