Propeller Terminology

The Michigan Wheel guide to understanding propellers. Here you will find everything from propeller parts to terminology that will help you understand how boat propellers work.



Cavitation, (which is often confused with ventilation), is a phenoma of water vaporizing or “boiling” due to the extreme reduction of pressure on the back of the propeller blade. Many propellers partially cavitate during normal operation, but excessive cavitation can result in physical damage to the propeller’s blade surface due to the collapse of the microscopic bubbles on the blade. There may be numerous causes of cavitation such as incorrect matching of propeller style to application, incorrect pitch, physical damage to the blade edges, etc