PropElements is software for detailed propeller design and analysis. It provides the ability to capture the performance of a propeller “on-the-hull” with HydroComp’s unique wake-adapted propeller design codes. Analyze existing performance for a given geometry, or let PropElements solve for optimum distributions of pitch and camber.

Click here to view the PropElements product brochure with additional details and specifications.

  • Design of optimum characteristics
  • Analysis of performance
  • Review of cavitation and other criteria
  • Blade strength using beam theory
  • Creation and export of KT-KQ curves
  • Import/export for CAD/CAM/CFD/FEA
  • Professional reports and plots
Used By
  • Propeller designers and builders
  • Naval architects and engineers
  • Hydrodynamicists and researchers
  • Propulsion system specialists
  • Classification societies
  • Merchant and naval ships
  • Cruise and research vessels
  • Motor yachts
  • High-efficiency vehicles
  • Thrusters for submersible ROV/AUV
  • Custom propulsors

New! Watch the About PropElements webinar!

We have prepared a flyer in Portuguese specifically for propeller manufacturers. This one page document highlights our PropCad, PropExpert, and PropElements software packages. Click here to view this article.

Why PropElements?

With the advent of custom and semi-custom propellers – commonplace for new vessel designs – naval architects now have a new set of technical challenges. These propellers differ from stock “series” or “off-the-shelf” propellers in two principal ways. They are:

  • designed using contemporary foil geometries, and
  • optimized and fitted to the individual vessel (or vessel type).

To fully take advantage of the benefits that custom or semi-custom propellers make available – or to evaluate them in service – naval architects must look to a different kind of propeller calculation.

How PropElements works…

In wake-adapted propeller design, a custom propeller is optimally matched to the unique inflow properties of the vessel, or its “wake field”. PropElements is able to consider axial and tangential inflow properties, and ascertain optimized distributions of pitch and camber for prescribed foil characteristics. PropElements can:

  • Calculate thrust, torque, cavitation, and efficiency
  • Optimize pitch and camber based on the wake field
  • Analysis blade strength, tip and hub loading.
  • Create KT-KQ curves
  • Supports standard nozzle styles (such 19A, 33, and 37)
  • Optional support for HE nozzles and tunnel thrusters

The foundation of PropElements is a unique distributed blade foil code, with empirical connections that allow analyses to be viscous and fully-scalable.

Detailed analysis of propeller performance…

PropElements can also be applied to analysis, as well as design. The ability to investigate radial values of foil lift and cavitation number, for example, can help identify potential sources of root cavitation or blade impulse excitation.

  • Evaluate tip loading (for hydroacoustics)
  • Forensic investigations of blade failure
  • Export of KT-KQ curves for external calculations
  • Gawn and SK

Interaction with HydroComp design tools, CFD, and FEA

A number of Import and Export options make PropElements an important companion for HydroComp’s NavCad and PropCad® software, as well as the perfect pre-processor for higher-order flow codes, CFD, and FEA. For example, early-stage performance prediction is typically conducted using NavCad. One unique NavCad feature is “Aligned Series” propeller performance, where KT-KQ data from model tests – or from PropElements – can be used to correlate custom propeller performance to series calculations. Then, when the propeller has gone through the “design for performance” process with PropElements, its “design for manufacture” can be completed in PropCad. CFD and FEA calculation benefit from PropElement’s calculation of proper body forces.

Validation of PropElements…

HydroComp conducts formal benchmark validation studies for PropElements using model test data for quantitative fidelity, and CFD studies to confirm scalability and qualitative outcomes.


Engine power densities will grow; fuel costs will increase; and emission reduction will become more urgent – all leading to the greater use of specialized propeller designs. With more propeller builders now capable of delivering “made to order” propellers, custom and semi-custom propellers of wake-adapted design should be considered for new construction and repowers.
The widespread installation of these propellers also suggests that naval architects need the ability to analyze their performance in greater detail than has typically been available. Whether for confirmation of propeller designs for new-build projects or the post-delivery evaluation of trial performance, HydroComp PropElements 2017 should become a commonplace fixture in a naval architect’s toolbox.