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Casualty Information
Ship Type: Any

Size (GRT): Any

Year of build: Any

Cracks in propeller hub

Course of events
When carrying out hull renewal survey in
drydock, two open cracks were found during
the visual inspection of the propeller hub.
The propeller was a 4 bladed mono-block
fixed pitch manganese aluminium bronze
propeller fitted with cone and key and with
diameter: 5205 mm.
Extent of damages
The cracks were located in between the
blades in way of the forward part of the hub,
see Fig. 1.
After grinding, the following extent of
damage was established:

Crack 1: length 360 mm, max depth

45 mm
Crack 2: length 500 mm, max depth
75 mm
This was considered to be a very severe damage as up to 36% of the hub thickness had
Probable cause
Most likely the cracks had appeared as a
result of misapplication of heat to facilitate
removal of the propeller from the shaft or in
order to obtain a tighter fit. This type of
boss-cracking is normally associated with the
use of high intensity flames such as oxy-

Fig. 1
One of the cracks found
during survey and after PT
(liquid penetrant testing)

Lessons to be learned
Application of high intensity flames when
removing the propeller from the shaft may cause
cracks in the hub after several months. This is
normally due to the fact that the workers
actually doing the job do not realise or
have never been told how small temperature increase is actually required to
expand the propeller hub sufficiently for
this purpose. The surface temperature
should not at any point exceed 150C for
an copper alloy. The hub should be heated by the hot gases, not the flames.
Alternatively, propeller bosses may be heated by
the use of steam, or by heavily insulated, low
powered electric blanket controlled to give a maximum temperature of 100C to 150C at the
boss surface.

Rule references (July 2004 edition)

Repair of propellers made from steel castings: Rules Pt.2 Ch.2 Sec.7 D600.
Repair of propellers made from copper
alloy castings: Rules Pt.2 Ch.2 Sec.10 C600.

Casualty Information
is published by
DNV Maritime,
Maritime Technology and
Production Centre
(Dept. for Classification & ISM)
Det Norske Veritas
NO-1322 Hvik, Norway
Tel: +47 67 57 99 00
Fax: +47 67 57 99 11

The purpose of Casualty Information is

to provide the marine industry with
lessons to be learned from incidents of
ship damage and more serious accidents.
In this way, DNV hopes to contribute to
the prevention of similar occurrences in
the future. The information included
is not necessarily restricted to cover ships
classed with DNV and is presented,
without obligation, for information
purposes only.

Queries may be directed to

DNV Maritime, Maritime Technology and
Production Centre (Dept. for Classification & ISM),
NO-1322 Hvik, Norway.
Fax +47 67 57 99 11. E-mail
Copyright and disclaimer: This publication may be
reproduced freely on condition that Det Norske
Veritas (DNV) is always stated as the source.
DNV accepts no responsibility for any errors or

Design: DNVE Graphic Communications 0411-029

Fig. 2
Finite element model of the hub showing
the location of the groove and the keyway

Print: GAN Grafisk

Definition of propeller severity zones:

Rules Pt.2 Ch.2 Sec.7 D500.

6,700/ 11-2004

acetylene. The boss will appear as to be in

order just after such treatment but cracks
will appear after an incubation period of
several months, dependent on the level of
stress and the alloy involved, normally at subsequent drydocking.
This type of failure is known as stress
corrosion, a formation of brittle cracks in a
normally sound material through the simultaneous action of tensile stress and a corrosive environment of seawater. In this case,
the initiating stresses were resulting from
steep thermal gradients produced by the
use of high intensity flames, which created
high residual stresses in the hub.
Propellers made of high tensile brass are
the ones most often affected, but this kind of
cracking has also occasionally occurred with
propellers of manganese aluminium bronze.
Shallow cracks can be removed by chipping and grinding, provided that the crack
is completely removed. If welds are made it
is normally necessary subsequently to carry
out stress relieving. In this particular case
the deepest crack was unfortunately located
in line with the keyway.
After stress calculations had been done
by the Class (Fig. 2) it was decided that the
propeller had to be condemned due to the
high stress levels.