So Why Are Propellers So Cool?

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A question I keep trying to answer but cannot! Everyday there is some new project, new design or really great photos of these devices that have been around since 1804 (well that will be dealt with later on!) but still look high tech. They have had as many people claiming their invention as there are designs, well sort of) but you get the point. This fascination took me to Cruise Ships as a Photographer, University as a sponge for information on anything hydrodynamics related and then out into the world for a second time (you can get second chances) as a Naval Architect.

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Oh I should introduce myself, this is Roderick, the owner of the site, co-founder of King Propulsion and a certified Englishman abroad. My real name is Dr. Roderick Sampson, and yes somewhere in between cruising the world and discovering Naval Architecture I earned a PhD in propeller cavitation at Newcastle University in the UK under the guidance of Prof. Mehmet Atlar, my mentor and great friend. Now though I decided to venture out of the shadow of the University and get into industry (as academics call it), I’ll just go with the real world.

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So this is me inside the Cavitation Tunnel setting up a dummy hull test, you can see a wake grid there as well; to the right is a ducted propeller test. So this is my background and I still support the Emerson Cavitation Tunnel and the great team they have there.

Recently, well not so recent I guess, I was fortunate to move to the USA to work for Science and Technology Corporation, experiencing first hand the world that is Government contracting. The shots below are from my work with USCG on their icebreakers and also some cavitation observations in full scale which is just breathtaking to see.

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But this is about King Propulsion! Well first off, the name is an homage to Kings College Durham, the University’s old name. The experience is a big part of who I am and I thought it fitting it should be a part of it – I’m also crazy for the old stories about the pioneers in my field who really changed the world in this facility (more later on this!). We are a quirky company with many strings to our bow, and I like that. We are consulting Naval Architects covering full scale measurements and most things related to powering but we are very fortunate to represent Bruntons Propellers and their parent company Stone Marine Propulsion in the USA. For Bruntons Propellers I sell the Varifold range of folding sailboat propellers and provide sales and support.

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This is often bemusing to my customers, a guy with a PhD selling propellers, but I am passionate about it and it just works! Check out the propellers below, when you have a sailboat and don’t want a propeller these Varifolds are truly great, they fold out of the way when not in use and are quiet and powerful when they are in use. I think they are like art! So why a blog then? Well the academic side of me just won’t rest. I believe getting anywhere be it in business or in life you need people to believe in and people who believe in you. I want to share the ups and downs of my field, my profession. Give insight into the shady world of propeller design, review cool products I find, review cool products I make and share good media about all of this.

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As with selling my propellers there is no hidden sales approach as I see on so many blogs, like the BBC I promise to keep it impartial but will be swayed by great design wherever it comes from! I also think I can help with Naval Architecture for Non-Naval Architects, a guide for the rest of us. I’ll refrain from the XX for Dummies as I find them hard to pallet, we can do better. So that is my goal, I promise to update this blog weekly with articles, photos and videos far and wide. Feel free to comment on any of the articles, I’ll leave them all open and welcome feedback (I think!). If you want to get in touch please drop me an email at roderick.sampson@kingpropulsion.com and I’ll do my best to answer your questions. I’ll syndicate the posts on the usual channels and once I get enough, for example on propeller design, make it an article and add it to the main site.

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