|Composite Materials and Structures for the Marine Environment.
Case studies: offshore structures, naval vessels, yacht hulls, canoes, sailcloth.
This page is primarily intended to support University of Plymouth students in the School of Marine Science and Engineering (Faculty of Science and Environment) studying on the BSc (honours) Marine and Composites Technology and formerly on the BSc (honours) Marine Sports Technology degrees.
The topics covered by this webpage are as follows:
|Marine Applications .. chapters
1.6 deep submergence
1.7 NDT and SHM
1.9 MRE devices
1.10 offshore oil and gas
1.11 underwater repair
1.12 yacht rigging
1.13 sail shape optimisation
1.14 thin ply technology (TPT)
|Marine Composites .. chapters|
2.1 materials selection
2.2 thermoplastic matrix
2.7 sandwich cores
2.8 infusion manufacture
2.9 smart propeller
2.10 boat construction
2.11 OWT foundations
2.12 MRE devices
2.13 propulsion and propellers
2.14 offloading hoses
2.15 rig design
Marine renewable energy systems (e.g. wind turbines, wave power and tidal stream  and tidal barrage)
See the MATS347 Energy webpage for some basic information and resources on sources of energy. Scarr et al  define the following locations for marine renewable energy devices:
Pérez-Collazo et al  have reviewed the state of the art for combined/integrated wave and offshore wind energy. They distinguished three classifications: co-located (lower risk and development costs), hybrid (the focus of most R&D to date) and island (early stage development) systems.
The principal systems used to harvest the energy are (a) offshore wind turbine arrays, (b) wave energy devices and (c) tidal turbines, albeit that the latter two systems are still at an early stage of development. Other systems include Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC), salinity gradient and algal biomass. Water is 830 times the density of air (or more at depth), so the forces generated are significantly increased  and the salt water environment increases the prospect of material degradation [5, 6]. Further, where devices will be located offshore and at depth there is a need to ensure the device will continue to operate over extended timescales withouth intervention for maintenance and repair.
Wood  reviewed wave energy renewable energy devices and identified more than 40 companies with devices at the prototype ordevelopment phases. wave energy devices can be classified as:
Mohan  considered the advantages of composite materials in marine renewable energy devices, specifically the stator, rotor and blade for a 2 m prototype C-Power underwater tidal turbine. The 1.2 MW SeaGen tidal energy convertor developed by Marine Current Turbines in collaboration with Aviation Enterprises Limited (AEL) [1, 2]. The 16 m diameter system is installed in Strangford Narrows (Northern Ireland). Each of the blades is based around a hollow box carbon fibre composite spar with carbon composite ribs and a glass fibre composite envelope. SeaGen also uses glass reinforced plastic (GRP) for the large fairings on the cross-arms that support the twin turbines and in the top housing. The Ocean Flow Energy Evopod tidal stream system, a semi-submersible floating device held in position by a moored buoy, was also trialled in Strangord Narrows with a 1.5 m diameter rotor (one-tenth scale producing 1 kW) . The one-fifth scale 22 kW prototype, designed with glass reinforced epoxy composite rotor blades with selective use of carbon composite to stiffen the largest blades, will be grid-connected.
The Pulse Tidal oscillating hydrofoil tidal stream system was installed as a 100kW prototype in the River Humber estuary near Immingham . Each foil has a box-section carbon fibre/epoxy composite spar, to take the primary bending loads, bonded to glass fibre/epoxy envelope skins around a PVC structural foam core.
- P Harper, S Hallett, A Fleming and M Dawson, Advanced fibre-reinforced composites for marine renewable energy devices, Chapter 9 in J Graham-Jones and J Summerscales (editors), Marine Applications of Advanced Fibre-Reinforced Composites, Woodhead Publishing, Cambridge, 2015, 217-232.
- D Scarr, R Kollek and D Collier, Wave Energy: Technology Transfer and Generic R&D Recommendations, ETSU report V/06/00187//REP, 2001. DTI Pub/URN 01/799.
- C Pérez-Collazo, D Greaves and G Iglesias, A review of combined wave and offshore wind energy, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, February 2015, 42, 141-153
- George Marsh, Wave and tidal power - an emerging new market for composites, Renewable Energy Focus, 14 May 2009.
- TJ Searle and J Summerscales, Review of the Durability of Marine Laminates, Chapter 7 in G Pritchard (editor): "Reinforced Plastics Durability", Woodhead Publishing, Cambridge, November 1998, pp 219-266. ISBN 1-85573-320-x.
- J Summerscales, Durability of composites in the marine environment, Chapter 1 in Peter Davies and Yapa DS Rajapakse (editors): Durability of composites in a marine environment, Springer Solid Mechanics and its Applications series vol. 208, pp 1-13. Springer, Dordrecht, 2014. ISBN 978-94-007-7416-2. E-book ISBN 978-94-007-7417-9.
- K Wood, Wave energy conversion, Composites Technology, October 2010, 16(5).
- H Fernandez, G Iglesias, R Carballo, A Castro, M Sánchez and F Taveira-Pinto, Optimization of the WaveCat wave energy converter, Coastal Engineering Proceedings, 2012, 33, 1-8.
- H Fernandez, G Iglesias, R Carballo, A Castro, JA Fraguela, F Taveira-Pinto and M Sanchez, The new wave energy converter WaveCat: concept and laboratory tests, Marine Structures, December 2012, 29(1), 58-70.
- M Mohan, The advantages of composite material in marine renewable energy devices, Marine Renewable Energy Conference, RINA, 2008.
Composite materials are used for a wide variety of applications in the offshore oil exploration and exploitation industries as a consequence of their low weight and good corrosion resistance. An excellent overview of "Composites for Offshore Applications" is presented by MS Babu, S Baksi, G Srikanth and S Biswas on the TIFAC website, including the following summary Table and Figures:
|02||Hand Rails and Ladder Components|
|03||Aqueous Piping System|
|04||Water and fuel storage tanks and vessels|
|05||Low pressure composite valves|
|06||Spoolable type thermosetting tubes|
|07||Sump Caissons and pull tubes|
|08||Cable support systems|
|09||Modular paneling for partition walls|
|10||High pressure accumulator bottles|
|11||Flexible and Floating Risers, Drill pipe|
|12||Sub–sea structural components|
|13||Boxes, housings and shelters|
|14||Fire water and sea water lift pump-casings|
|16||Offshore bride connecting between platforms|
|17||Fire and Blast protection|
|grids and gratings||handrails||ladders||caissons||piping|
Composite pipe technology enables the offshore industry to operate in deeper and harsher environments. The first composite drilling riser joint was tested on the Heidrun platform in the Norwegian Sea in 2001. A fully composite 76 mm pre-commissioning downline was used offshore Brazil in a water depth >2100 m in 2014.&nbs; Despite the high material cost and limited track record for composites offshore, they are lightweight with high strength and resistance to fatigue and corrosion (hence relatively low maintenance costs), and have a low axial and bending stiffness in comparison to steel so can be formed into complex shapes (good for reel lay). 2H Offshore performed a comparison of a deepwater production Single Line Hybrid Riser (SLHR) using both steel and composite pipes at 2000 m water depth. The change to composite allowed reduced bulk of the buoyancy tank and the riser assembly frames as a result of the enhanced weight-to-strength ratio of the pipe section. Further, installation required reduced lift capacity and was quicker .
- P Hopkins, H Saleh and G Jewell, Composite riser study confirms weight, fatigue benefits compared with steel, Offshore magazine, October 2015, 75(9), accessed 03 November 2015.
- MS Babu, S Baksi, G Srikanth and S Biswas: Composites for Offshore Applications
- Composite materials in offshore oil and gas industry (Philip Medlicott Ltd)
- The Use of Fire-safe Phenolic Composite Materials in Marine Applications (Borden Chemical)
- Properties for offshore (reinforced) rubber oil hoses
- GRP/PU spar buoys (e.g. SG2 and SG7 from Balmoral Group)
- Oil and Gas Project List (Solent Composite Systems)
- M Roseman, R Martin and G Morgan, Composites in offshore oil and gas applications, Chapter 10 in J Graham-Jones and J Summerscales (editors), Marine Applications of Advanced Fibre-Reinforced Composites, Woodhead Publishing, Cambridge, 2015, 233-257.
- R Sen, Underwater repair with composites, Chapter 11 in J Graham-Jones and J Summerscales (editors), Marine Applications of Advanced Fibre-Reinforced Composites, Woodhead Publishing, Cambridge, 2015, 259-278.
- P Hopkins, H Saleh and G Jewell,Composite riser study confirms weight, fatigue benefits compared with steel, Offshore, 10 September 2015, 75(9).
Jacksonville (Florida) Port Authority installed pultruded composite fixed and floating dock structures capable of withstanding Category 3 hurricanes (winds to 241 kph and sea storm surge to 3.66 m) meeting "all of the technical and grant-funding requirements, including budget and timeline" when all previous bids were 50% over-budget.
Submarines and submersibles
US Navy Los Angeles-class submarines
SSN 691 "Memphis" [USNI website] was redesignated an experimental submarine during 1989 to test composite hull structures, unmanned underwater vehicles, advanced sonars, hull friction reduction, and so forth but remains combat-capable. During a mid-1990s refit, SSN 691 received a GRP turtleback abaft the sail to accommodate remotely operated vehicles and a towing winch and drum for experimental towed sonar arrays, 4.27-m-high by 1.37-m-wide vertical surfaces at the ends of the stern stabilizers to accommodate sonar transducer arrays, a 54-mm-diameter towed array dispenser in the port fin (leading to the new winch abaft the sail), supports for the stern stabilizers, new hydraulic systems, a fiber-optic databus, and 58 standardized equipment racks to accommodate a wide variety of electronic test gear; the modifications added about 50 tons to the displacement, most of it aft. SSN 691 has tested a composite material propeller shaft of about half normal weight.
The American nuclear submarine SSN 711 "San Francisco" hit an uncharted seamount on 7 January 2005, killing one sailor and injuring sixty others, 23 of them so seriously they could not perform their duties. Facts about the incident were slow to emerge. Dunningan states "It appears that the sub was traveling on a course it was ordered to follow, at a depth of 500 feet and a speed of about 56 kilometers an hour. This was the first time the navy had given the speed of a Los Angeles class sub as anything but “25+ knots” (45 kilometers an hour)".
Images from http://navysite.de/ssn/ssn711_6.jpg (left),
and http://www.subcommittee.com/cgi-bin/ikonboard.cgi?s=49d5aa6747d28724559df35b205650a3;act=ST;f=27;t=115;st=10 (right)
- Los Angeles-class submarine (US Naval Institute)
- USS San Francisco - SSN 711 (navysite.de)
- James Dunnigan, Why the USS San Francisco Ran Aground, 31 January 2005 (strategypage.com)
- Christopher Drew, US Navy photos show damage to nuclear sub 'San Francisco', 30 January 2005 (Cyber Diver News Network).
- David Conway and JFW Kingston, The development of a high performance bow sonar dome, SAMPE Journal, July/August 2006, 42(4), 20-22.
Perry Slingsby LR5 rescue submersible
The LR5 rescue submersible has an advanced composite pressure hull. It normally carries three crew members, the pilot, a co-pilot and the systems operator and up to 15 submarine survivors can be evacuated at a time. LR5 was used in the Kursk submarine rescue attempt.
Images from http://www.naval-technology.com/projects/lr5/ (left and right) and http://www.slingsby.co.uk/comp.htm (centre)
Rehabilitation of Royal Navy submarines
Babcock Composite Technology Group (at the Plymouth Devonport Royal Dockyard) have developed a composite repair technology to replace the corroded 1000 mm long by 200 mm OD sea tubes on HMS Vigilant (a Vanguard class Trident submarine) during the three year Long Overhaul Period and Refuel (LOP(R)). The time required to refurbish the 11 tubes has been cut by around 75% (down from eight months to two months). The composite repair method offers health and safety benefits, with minimised manual handling in difficult spaces, and a significantly reduced welding requirement (traditionally around 100 hours per tube).
- First Composite Repairs for Nuclear Submarine Sea Tubes, NetComposites News, 07 August 2010.
- Defence Composite Tube Repair - rust buster, Professional Engineer, 18 August 2010, 23(13), 39.
... and criminal activity
OceanGate Incorporated has announced (21 August 2013) the completion of the initial design and feasibility study for its five-person Cyclops next-generation manned submersible for depths to 3000 metres (9800 feet). The vessel will feature a 178 mm thick carbon fiber hull manufactured by automated fiber placement (AFP) complemented by a large 180° borosilicate glass dome. The vessel should be commercially available in 2016 as the only privately owned deepwater (>2000m) manned submersible available for contracts. A follow-on version capable of depths to 6000 m is planned for completion in 2016Q4.
Images from CompositesWorld Industry News
- New manned submersible to feature carbon fiber composite hull, CompositesWorld Industry News, 26 August 2013.
Drug traffickers have built custom-made ocean-going self-propelled semi-submersible (SPSS) vessels known as "narco submarines" to smuggle cocaine from South America (usually Colombia or Ecuador) to Mexico for onward transport to other countries especially the USA. The authorities in Ecuador are reported to have seized a fully functional diesel electric submarine with a cylindrical 31 m long fibreglass hull on 3 July 2010 before its maiden voyage. The vessel, intended to be crewed by 5-6 people had an estimated capacity of ~10 metric tons of cargo, and could submerge to 20 m for long-range underwater operation.
Balmoral Glassfibre Limited - Aberdeen
Self-righting, totally-enclosed, motor-propelled survival craft for the offshore oil industry are manufactured in glass reinforced plastic using fire-retardant resins. The craft range in size (6.2-8.75 m ) and can carry 21-66 people respectively. As part of the certification trials, the survival craft was required to withstand 30 m high kerosene flames and temperatures of 1150°C. Throughout the fire test, the temperature inside the craft never exceeded 27°C.
Image from the front cover of International Reinforced Plastics Industry, May/June 1983, 2(5), 1.
Royal National Lifeboat Institution
Images from http://www.rnli.org.uk/what_we_do/lifeboats/current_lifeboats (sequenced as in the table below)
Introduced Displacement Length x Beam Speed Construction Inshore IB1 2003 338 kg 4.95 x 2 m 25 knots FRC structure with Hypalon coated polyester boat fabric Atlantic 21 1972 1.4 tonnes 6.9 x 2.44 m 32 knots GRP hull with hypalon-coated nylon tube Atlantic 75 1992 1.5 tonnes 7.3 x 2.64 m 32 knots GRP hull with hypalon-coated nylon tube Mersey 1988 14 tonnes 11.77 x 4 m 16 knots aluminium or fibre reinforced plastic Shannon 2014 18 tonnes 13.6 x 4.5 m 25 knots fibre-reinforced plastic Trent 1994 27.5 tonnes 14.26 x 4.9 m 25 knots fibre reinforced composite Tamar 2005 30 tonnes 16 x 5 m 25 knots fibre reinforced plastic (FRP) Arun 1971 31.5 tonnes 16-17 x 5.43 m 18 knots glass reinforced plastic Severn 1996 41 tonnes 17x5.9 m 25 knots fibre reinforced composite
Table compiled from http://www.rnli.org.uk/fleet.asp (no longer available) and http://rnli.org/aboutus/lifeboatsandstations/lifeboats/Pages/The-fleet.aspx
- Neil Chaplin and John Nurser, Launching the Tamar, Ingenia, December 2007, (33), 37-43.
RNLI hovercraft (introduced 2002 ) - displacement 2500kg (fully loaded weight) - length: 7.75m - speed: 30 knots
Construction: aluminium hull with FRC topsides and fan ducts
Image from http://www.rnli.org.uk/fleet.asp
No minesweepers were built for the Royal Navy between the end of World War II and the 1960s, when the Ministry of Defence contracted Bristol Aeroplane Plastics to design, develop and build a full size glass fibre reinforced polyester centre section representative of a typical minesweeper. A case study of this pre-production test structure can be found in Chapter 14 of Hollaway.
- AE Davey, GFRP minesweeper: pre-production test structure with box core sandwich construction, Chapter 14 in L Hollaway, Handbook of Polymer Composites for Engineers, Woodhead Publishing, Cambridge, 1994, pages 309-324. ISBN 1-85573-129-0.
Royal Navy mine counter measures vessel - HMS Wilton: 450 tons - 46.3 m long - monolithic GRP
Image from http://www.tca2000.co.uk/wilton3small.jpg
HMS Wilton was a world leader at the time of her construction in 1973. At 450 tons, she was then the world's largest reinforced plastic ship. Unofficially known as HMS Tupperware, HMS Indestructible, or just 'the plastic duck', HMS Wilton was built to the tried and tested Coniston-class minehunter design (more usually called the Ton class minesweeper).
Hunt class Mine Counter Measures Vessels: 725 tons - 60 m long - monolithic GRP
Image from http://www.btinternet.com/~warship/Today/hunt.htm
Table compiled from data at http://www.btinternet.com/~warship/Today/hunt.htm
Ship Pennant Builder Launched Completed Notes Brecon M29 Vosper Thornycroft 21 June 1978 21 March 1980 Ledbury M30 Vosper Thornycroft 05 December 1979 11 June 1981 Suffered major fire in 1983 Cattistock M31 Vosper Thornycroft 22 January 1981 16 July 1982 Crippled by an onboard fire in her engine room in 1998 Cottesmore M32 Yarrow (Scotstoun) 09 February 1982 24 June 1983 Brocklesby M33 Vosper Thornycroft 12 January 1982 03 February 1983 Middleton M34 Yarrow (Scotstoun) 10 May 1982 14 August 1984 Dulverton M35 Vosper Thornycroft 02 November 1982 03 November 1983 Bicester M36 Vosper Thornycroft 04 June 1985 20 March 1986 Decommissioned 01 July 2000. Now Greek Navy HS Europa. Chiddingfold M37 Vosper Thornycroft 04 May 1982 10 August 1984 Atherstone M38 Vosper Thornycroft 01 March 1986 30 January 1987 Hurworth M39 Vosper Thornycroft 25 September 1984 02 July 1985 Major fire caused funnel to collapse in May 1996. Berkeley M40 Vosper Thornycroft 03 December 1986 14 January 1988 Decommissioned 28 February 2001. Now Greek Navy HS Kallisto. Quorn M41 Vosper Thornycroft 23 January 1988 12 April 1989
Sandown/Racecourse class Single Role Mine Hunter (SRMH): 450 tons - 50m long - monolithic GRP
HMS Sandown (left) image from http://www.btinternet.com/~warship/Today/sandown.jpg
HMS Penzance (centre and right) images from http://www.royal-navy.mod.uk/data/gallery/thumb/988989782t.jpg and http://www.navy.ee/mcopest/data/ENG/picsfils/penzanze.jpg
|Sandown||M101||16 April 1988||09 June 1989|
|Inverness||M102||27 February 1990||24 January 1991|
|Cromer||M103||06 October 1990||07 April 1992||renamed Hindostan as training vessel for BRNC Dartmouth|
|Walney||M104||25 November 1991||20 February 1993|
|Bridport||M105||20 July 1992||06 November 1993|
|Batch II Vessels|
|Penzance||M106||11 March 1997||14 May 1998|
|Pembroke||M107||15 December 1997||06 October 1998|
|Grimsby||M108||10 August 1998||25 September 1999|
|Bangor||M109||19 April 1999||15 December 1999||the last warship accepted into service in 20th Century*.|
|Ramsey||M110||25 November 1999||26 July 2000|
|Blyth||M111||May 2000||February 2001|
|Shoreham||M112||09 April 2001||28 November 2001|
Swedish Navy Landsort class MCMV: 360 tons - 47.5m long - GRP sandwich
The Landsort class vessels are for "minehunting, minesweeping and anti-submarine warfare (ASW), but at the same time, [are] excellent offshore patrol vessels. Unlike single-role minehunters, the Landsort was conceived as a genuine multi-purpose vessel, able to perform various mine-warfare tasks. Each vessel is capable of operating as an independent unit or as a tactical command vessel".
Image from http://www.kockums.se/surfacevessels/landsort.html
The vessels displace 360 tonnes with an overall length of 47.5 m and a beam of 9.6 m. Material of construction is GRP sandwich and top speed is quoted as 15 knots.More information:
Swedish Navy Visby stealth corvette: 640 tonnes (fully equipped) - 73 m long - "sandwich construction carbon fibre reinforced plastic" - quoted speed of >35 knots.
"The Visby Class corvette is the first vessel in the world to have fully developed stealth technology, combined with high operational versatility. The outstanding stealth properties fundamentally change the ship's survivability and improve its mission effectiveness. Visby is a flexible surface combatant, designed for a wide range of roles: anti-surface warfare (ASuW), anti-submarine warfare (ASW), mine countermeasures (MCM), patrol and much more" .
Image from http://www.kockums.se/surfacevessels/visby.html
Images from http://www.kockums.se/News/photostock/photosurface.html
She displaces 600 tons (fully equipped), is 73 m overall length with a 10.4 m beam. Material of construction for the hull is "sandwich construction carbon fibre reinforced plastic" giving a quoted speed of >35 knots.
Visby class ships HMS Helsingborg K32 and HMS Härnösand K33 have visited Plymouth.
- Visby class corvette - the true stealth vessel (kockums.se) pictures to download animations to download
- Visby class corvettes, Sweden (naval-technology.com)
- Fredrik Lindblom, Use of composites in the Visby stealth corvette, ACMC/SAMPE Conference on Marine Composites, Plymouth, 11-12 September 2003.
PSU Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers Ltd (GRSE) in Kolkata is building two Anti-Submarine Warfare Corvettes (INS Kiltan and INS Kavaratti) for delivery to the Indian Navy in 2017. The carbon fibre composite superstructures, imported from the Kockums shipyard in Sweden were assembled and integrated with the steel main hull in Kolkota.
Indonesian stealth boats
North Sea Boats in Indonesia produce a 63m Fast Missile Patrol Vessel (FMPV) with a wave piercing trimaran design and helicopter platform. The vessel is constructed as a carbon fibre composite sandwich with vinylester modified epoxy resin matrix using a resin infusion process. The stealth characteristics reduce radar, infra-red, acoustic and magnetic signatures with no reverse-angle bow overhangs. The weapons, including guns and missiles, and the 11 m high-speed rigid hull inflatable boat, are shaped to meld into the superstructure profile or discreetly concealed. The vessel can be operated by a 23-person crew and augmented with a 7-person Special Operations Unit.
First vessel in class was the Indonesian Navy KRI Klewang-625 officially launched on Friday 31 August 2012 at the PT Lundin shipyard facility in Banyuwangi (East Java). Unfortunately the US$12M vessel was destroyed by fire at the Banyuwangi naval port on Friday 28 September 2012 (just four weeks after the official launch ceremony).
Image 1 from http://defense-update.com/, 2-4 from http://www.northseaboats.com/, 5-6 from http://3.bp.blogspot.com/ and the launch day and loss day videos are here.
The Russian Navy will start trials of the Admiral Gorshkov class stealth frigate in November 2012. The vessel has carbon fibre superstructures.
More information: Alexei Mikhailov, Russian Navy receives carbon fiber stealth ship, Izvestia, 09 October 2012.
US Navy M80 Stiletto
The M Ship Company (San Diego CA) has developed a unique "double-M"-shaped multi-hull lightweight littoral (near shore) patrol boat for the United States Navy: M80 Stiletto (24.4m/80 ft long by 12.1m/39.7 ft-wide). The patented planing-tunnel M-hull has unusual contours to capture air and convert wave energy into lift to enable cruise at greater speed (>50 knots, 57.5 mph, 92 km/h) with improved comfort and a smaller wake. It is the largest US naval vessel with principal structures built using entirely vacuum-bagged carbon (sandwich) composites for the hull major structures with resin film infusion (RFI) for bulkheads and longitudinal girders. The M80 Stiletto has a crew of three and is capable of transporting 12 Sea, Air and Land (SEAL) commandos. It also carries an 11m/36 ft rigid-hull inflatable boat and has capacity for smaller-sized unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
Stiletto touches water for the first time - the unusual hull planform features “planing tunnels” - the vessel in action at sea
Images from http://www.compositesworld.com/hpc/issues/2007/September/111958
- New ship hull forms under development, High-Performance Composites, January 2005, 13(1), 14-15.
- Carbon naval vessel to be validated, High-Performance Composites, January 2006, 14(1), 16.
- DK Dawson, All-carbon composite stealth technology joins the U.S. Navy: unique double-M hull design creates smooth air cushion for low-wake, low-weight, low-draft ship, High-Performance Composites, September 2007, 15(5), 42-47.
- C Caswell, "Holy bat-boat", Professional Boatbuilder, October/November 2010, (127), 45-46.
The US Navy DD 21 project was superseded by the DD(X) program to become the 32-ship 186 m Zumwalt class designed to replace both frigates and destroyers with new multimission destroyers. The upper-section deckhouse, a composite helicopter hanger and an integrated composite ballistic screen is constructed with panels and beams made of carbon fiber/vinylester skins over balsa and/or foam cores. Some 20-30 sub-assemblies are used to build just one composite panel. Northrop Grumman won the US$1.4 billion contract to construct the 900 ton composite deckhouse of the DDG 1000 destroyer which is 48.8 m (160 feet) span length, 21.3 m (70 feet) wide and 19.8 m (65 feet) high. The composite parts are made by vacuum assisted resin transfer molding (VARTM) using T-700 carbon fibre and a fire-retardant organobromide vinylester resin over balsa wood cores to meet Navy fire code standards. The deckhouse has the largest panels (36.6m by 18.3m) ever built by the VARTM process and takes up to 12 hours to infuse with resin. Due to cost, only the first two (DDG1000 & 1001) in the series will have composite deckhouses. The lead vessel was launched on 28 October 2013.
- MR Legault, DDG-1000 Zumwalt: Stealth warship, Composites Technology, February 2010, 16(1), 46-48.
- A McPherson, Composite giants broke the Navy trend, Composites Manufacturing Online, 05 April 2012.
- USS Zumwalt (not USS Enterprise) launched (with video), Materials KTN _connect, 2013.
Ocean Eagle 43 ocean patrol vessel (OPV)
The Ocean Eagle 43 is a new trimaran naval vessel from the legendary multihull yacht designer Nigel Irens, with laminate design by Rivoyre Ingenierie and construction by Chantier Naval H2X, for the shipbuilder CMN. The 43.5 m (142 ft) vessel can cruise at 20 knots for over 4000 km and has a top speed of 30 knots. The materials are mainly infused glass fibre/epoxy sandwich with carbon fibre in the stringer caps and arms that connect the amas (outboard floats) to the main hull. The Corecell foam cores are between 20-40 mm thick with densities in the range 80-200 kg/m3. The main hull infusion used almost 4 tonnes of resin with the complete composite structure weighing <30 tonnes. The infused hulls for the first and second boats differed by <5 kg weight.
Images from http://www.compositesworld.com/articles/dark-knights-sleek-trimarans-surveil-the-seas
- CMN Ocean Eagle 43 Trimaran Patrol Vessel Sea Trial in Sea State 5, accessed 04 december 2015.
- http://cmn-group.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Ocean-Eagle-43.pdf, accessed 28 February 2015.
- G Gardiner, Dark knights: Sleek trimarans surveil the seas ~ Epoxy-infused patrol boats outperform less nimble and more costly conventional naval craft, CompositesWorld, 06 January 2015.
Sad loss of USS Guardian
The Avenger class MCMVs have a GRP superstructure over an FRP-sheathed oak-and-fir wooden hull with the following specification: 68.3 x 11.9 x 3.5 m and 1040 tonnes full displacement. USS Guardian (fifth in class) ran aground on the UNESCO World Heritage Site Tubbataha coral reef in the Sulu Sea (Phillipines) on 17 January 2013. The Navy was unable to salvage and tow the ship off the reef due to poor sea conditions. Captain Darryn James (spokesman for the US Pacific Fleet) said “The ship is badly damaged” and “after a full review of all possible alternatives, our only viable option is to dismantle the damaged ship and remove it in sections”.
Image from http://img.gawkerassets.com/img/18d029mys1c8wjpg/original.jpg
- R Francisco and M Perry, USS Guardian minesweeper: coral reef concerns sparked after ship grounds in Philippines, Huffington Post, 21 January 2013.
- Luis Martinez, Stuck Minesweeper to Be Cut Into Pieces, ABC News, 29 January 2013.
- M Zennie, The US Navy's latest $277M pile of scrap: minesweeper will hacked to pieces after it ran aground on reef off Philippines, Daily Mail, 30 January 2013.
Brødrene Aa (Norway) designed and built the world-first carbon fibre composite passenger vessel in 2002, and had built 50 such vessels at the start of 2016. The Arcadia Alliance joint venture with Front Street Shipyard (Maine, USA) will now build ferries for the North American market.
Image (from Brødrene website): MS Melkøy is a multipurpose carbon fibre catamaran, taking 97 passengers and 2 cars, equipped with Servogear controllable pitch propellers and designed for a service speed of 25 knots.
- H Caliendo, Front Street Shipyards, Brødrene Aa to build carbon fiber ferries, Composites World, 4 January 2016.
Sterngear (propellers and rudders)
Our former colleague, Tim Searle, considered the use of glass reinforced plastics for marine propellers for both his undergraduate project and his doctoral studies. Four designs of marine propellers up to 660 mm diameter (photograph below) were manufactured in the latter context. Sea trials have been carried out on a 500 mm diameter three-bladed composite propeller installed on a 7-metre work boat with a 40 hp diesel engine. Experiments to measure top speed and the thrust generated with the stern of the boat tied to a bollard have demonstrated that the new propellers give similar performance to traditional bronze propellers. The composite propeller was designed as a retrofit and did not attempt to exploit the potential benefits of hydro-elastic tailoring of the blade material. Tentative finite element models were generated to predict the potential hydrodynamic advantage which may result from such tailoring of the blades by selective fibre placement.
Image from Tim Searle
- T Searle, J Chudley and D Short, Composites offer advantages for propellers, Reinforced Plastics, December 1993, 37(12), 24-26.
- T Searle and D Short, Are composite propellers the way forward for small boats?, Materials World, February 1994, 2(2), 69-70.
- TJ Searle, The manufacture of marine propellers in moulded anisotropic polymer composites, PhD thesis, 1998.
- TJ Searle, Composites final frontier: a composites propeller for commercial marine applications, Design Engineering, April 1999, 51-52.
QinetiQ completed sea trials of a new 2.9 metre diameter composite propeller in Falmouth Bay during July 2003. Currently the world's largest composite propeller it consists of five composite blades bolted and bonded to a nickel aluminium bronze (NAB) hub and weighs significantly less than an equivalent propeller made from (NAB). The propeller was fitted to RV Triton (QinetiQ’s trimaran warship prototype - the world’s largest motor powered triple-hull vessel).
Images from http://www.naval-technology.com/projects/trimaran/ (left) and http://www.reinforcedplastics.com/latest_features/new_features/041209_propellers.html (right, © QinetiQ)
- Anon., Composite Propeller for Warship Propulsion – Construction and Advantages of the Composite Propeller, AZoM.com, 22 August 2003.
- World's largest composite propeller successfully completes sea trials, Naval Architect, July/August 2003, 16.
- G Hardy, New composites reduce cavitations in giant marine propeller tests, Materials World, July 2003, 11(7), 8.
Airborne Composites supplied the Royal Netherlands Navy (RNLN) with a carbon fibre skin/glass fibre core epoxy composite main propeller for an Alkmaar-class minehunter in September 2010. The ten Alkmaar-class minehunters were developed in the 1970s by a tripartite collaboration with the French and Belgian navies. The blades were produced to net shape using the resin transfer moulding process with a 70% weight reduction relative to the nickel aluminium bronze equivalent. Test runs on the 2.5 m diameter propeller, which is designed to deliver about 1400 kW, will start late in 2010 and continue through 2011. Bronze ship propellers suffer from (cavitation) erosion which spoils the geometry of the hydrodynamic blade surfaces, giving rise to increased turbulence and hence to vibration and noise. This effect is particularly undesirable for mine counter-measures vessels as an excessive acoustic signature could trigger the mines that they seek. The use of composite materials for the ships propellers is expected to reduce the need for inspection and maintenance. The possibility of hydroelastic tailoring of the fibre orientation is under consideration for improved propeller performance.
Nakashima Propeller Comapny, in collaboration with ClassNK (the Japanese classification society) have installed CFRP propoellers in the side thrusters (September 2012) and a 2.12 m diameter CFRP main propeller (May 2014) on Taiko Maru, a 499 GT chemical tanker owned by Sowa Kaiun YK. The CFRP propeller required 9% less power during sea trials when compared to conventional aluminum-bronze propellers.
- Composite propeller for Dutch minehunter, NetComposites News, 12 November 2010.
- Sara Black, Composite propellor for Royal [Dutch] Navy minehunter, High-Performance Composites, September 2011, 19(5), 70-72.
- W Leenders and M van Santen, Composite main propeller for Dutch minehunter, EuroNaval, Paris, 25-29 October 2010.
- ClassNK and Nakashima Propeller Announce World’s First Installation of a CFRP Propeller on a Merchant Vessel, ClassNK press release, 29 August 2014.
- Carbon fibre propeller cuts fuel costs for Japanese tanker, Reinforced Plastics, September–October 2014, 58(5), 4.
- S Black, Boat propellers with replaceable, interchangeable blades, CompositesWorld, March 2016, 2(3), 68-71.
The US Navy has developed a rudder for DDG-51-class destroyers that twists in such a way that it presents a different angle of attack at different water depths [Griffiths]. Although initially designed in metal, composite rudders (4.3m across both the span and widest portion of the chord) are now produced for about half the steel rudder cost by Structural Composites using the Recirculation Molding process - a variation on light RTM. The links illustrate the design, actual rudder as fitted to USS Bulkeley, the composite clamshell mould and the manufacture.
- Bob Griffiths, Rudder gets new twist with composites: the US Navy's specially contoured ship rudder commands composite construction, Composites Technology, August 2006, 12(4), 60-62.
A team at the University of Southampton studied feather shafts and found they were made of a multi-layered fibrous composite material which allows the feather to bend and twist to cope with the stresses of flight. They foresee applications of their findings in yacht masts and propeller blades.
- Bird feathers similar to carbon fibre, Reinforced Plastics, March–April 2015, 59(2), 78–79.
Green Marine (Lymington, UK) built a 7.5 m long rudder stock designed by Dubois Naval Architects for a 66 metre sloop using ~1 tonne of carbon fibre prepreg.
Other propeller applications:
- Anon., Advanced Propulsion System for Fishing Vessels, Design Optimisation and Guidelines for Multimaterial Applications (DOGMA) project, INASMET, 21 December 2000.
- Anon., Long fiber propellers are low cost alternative to metal, Reinforced Plastics, July/August 2015, 59(4), 153.PJ Maljaars, ML Kaminski and JH den Besten, Finite element modelling and model updating of small scale composite propellers, Composite Structures, 15 September 2017, 176, 154–163.
- C-C Lin, Y-J Lee and C-S Hung, Optimization and experiment of composite marine propellers, Composite Structures, June 2009, 89(2), 206–215.
- MR Motley, Z Liu, YL Young, Utilizing fluid–structure interactions to improve energy efficiency of composite marine propellers in spatially varying wake, Composite Structures, October 2009, 90(3), 304-313.
- CD Wozniak, Analysis, fabrication and testing of a composite bladed propeller for a Naval Academy Yard Patrol (YP) craft, Trident Scholar Report, United States Naval Academy report USNA-TSPR-341, Annapolis MD, May 2005.
Very Slender Vessels
The first VSV™ was conceived as a high speed power boat to seat up to six and carry them across the Irish sea in relative comfort in all but the worst sea and weather conditions. The MkI 30ft VSV™ was designed by Adrian Thompson for Nick Keig who owned and built the vessel. The vessel was constructed from high tech composite materials and was fitted with petrol V8 engine and Hamilton waterjet drive system. The vessel was launched and proved all the sceptics wrong when it was seen to be an extremely fast and easy to handle boat. Many different variant VSV™ have since been procured by military customers both in the UK and abroad.
Image from http://www.vsvboats.com/
The Cable & Wireless Adventure was a bid to circumnavigate the globe by motor-powered vessel in less than 80 days, so as to break the world record. The boat (41 tonnes, 35 x 14 m) is constructed in "composite glass reinforced polymer/foam sandwich". Cable & Wireless Adventurer successfully completed a record breaking circumnavigation. Departing from Gibraltar on 19th April 1998, the vessel returned on the 3rd July having covered the 24500 nautical miles in 74 days 20 hours, spending some 62 days at sea. The average speed achieved was 16.5 knots and the average fuel consumption about 1 mpg (4.5 litres/nm).
Images from http://www.solarnavigator.net/history/cable_and_wireless.htm (left)
and http://www.nigelirens.demon.co.uk/nid_power2.htm (right)
Mako Mark V1 Special Operations Craft
Mako, an all carbon-fiber US$15M prototype USN Special Operations Craft (SOC) 50+ knot patrol boat was launched on 11 January 2008. The 25.3 m (83 foot) LOA by 5.2 m (17 foot) beam 57 tonne displacement design was driven by the need for SOC to “operate in rough seas while minimizing the vertical acceleration, or "slamming" felt by Special Operations crew when the boat hits a wave".
Image from http://www.hodgdondefensecomposites.com/mako-wide.jpg
- JK Hanson, Just launched: Mako Mark V.1 Special Operations Craft, Maine Boats, Homes & Harbours, 003, November/December 2007.
Launched 22 February 2006, this radical 24m wavepiercer trimaran by Craig Loomes Design Group (CLDG) was built to try to beat the 75 day record set by Cable & Wireless in 1998 for the Union Internationale Motonautique (UIM) powerboat record for an equatorial circumnavigation via the Panama and Suez canals. Construction is "advanced composites including carbon fibre and aramid reinforcements, toughened epoxy resins and lightweight foam cores". The boat is powered by biodiesel, showcasing the "environmental benefits of this emerging fuel technology". Germanischer Lloyd, in conjunction with CLDG, have analysed the sea induced loadings: the animation below shows the vessel operating at 28 knots in a short steep head sea of 2.8m height and 23m wavelength. The colours indicate the wave peaks and troughs. Between 27 April and 27 June 2008, the boat completed the 24000 mile course in 60 days 23 hours and 49 minutes, reducing the record by almost 14 days (close to a 20% reduction in the time).
Images from http://www.cld.co.nz/news.htm with permission granted by e-mail of Sun 12/03/2006 21:33
- Auckland - no ordinary show, http://www.ybw.com/auto/newsdesk/20060208201405ywnews.html, accessed 08:37 on 10 March 2006.
- Craig Loomes Design Group News, http://www.cld.co.nz/news.htm, accessed 08:25 on 10 March 2006.
- Earthrace Wavepiercer Trimaran, http://www.cld.co.nz/earthrace.htm, accessed 08:33 on 10 March 2006.
- Earthrace breaks world record thanks to composite industry support, JEC Composites magazine, September 2008, (43), 44-45.
Palmer Johnson 48-meter SuperSport all-carbon composite superyacht
Palmer Johnson (Sturgeon Bay WI, USA) have delivered their first 48 m (157-ft) SuperSport wave-piercing bow model with twin aft-end sponsons enabling an 11 m (36-ft) beam. The CFRP hull and deck were subcontracted to Brødrene Aa (Hyen, Norway). The lightweight structure is claimed to achieve 50% greater fuel efficiency with speeds up to 32 knots powered by twin MTU 16V 2000 M94 engines. The reduces slamming and pitching in head seas at speed. Though the main hull is slender, the innovative monohull design includes that increases natural stability by a factor of three while offering 30% more interior living space than more traditional models. alternative models in the series include 35 m (115-ft) and 72 m (236-ft) versions.
Image from CompositesWorld.com
High Modulus has commenced the structural design of a 57m (186ft) all-composite motor yacht which was expected to be the largest vessel of this type at the planned launch date of 2011. The production vessel will be vacuum-infused and will break the 500 ton gross-weight threshold. It relies on the Christensen Shipyards (Vancouver, Washington) proven hull and associated systems. Tooling will start in early 2008, with construction in a new purpose-designed facility on a lakefront in Tennessee. The first boat is allocated to current Christensen yacht owner John Rosatti. Build appears to currently be "on hold".
- High Modulus to engineer largest all-composite motoryacht, http://www.high-modulus.com/news/Christensen.htm, 9 January 2008.
- The largest all-composite motor yacht, http://www.jeccomposites.com/composites-news/4332/marine-infusion.html, 16 January 2008.
- Largest all-composite yacht, Superyacht News, 17 January 2008.
- High Modulus to engineer the largest all-composite motor yacht, http://www.netcomposites.com/news.asp?4763, 21 January 2008.
- Construction of the world's largest composite motoryacht underway, High-Performance Composites, March 2008, 16(2), 32.
There are a number of books appropriate to yacht design:
Mirabella V: 740 tonnes - 75.2 m long - carbon/aramid/glass sandwich construction
The Ron Holland designed Mirabella V is the largest single mast (sloop rigged) yacht in the world. Built by Vosper Thornycroft, she was launched in November 2004 with her 90 m mast stepped in late December of that year. She displaces 740 tonnes and is 75.2 m long. Materials of construction are carbon (deck and stiffeners), aramid (outside hull skin), and E-glass composites over PVC or polyolefin foam cores.
Images from http://www.mirabellayachts.com/mirabella5/
Mirabella, refitted in 2013 by Pendennis Shipyard is now sailing as the 77.6 m "M5" with a stern extension, new keel and rudder updates and her original conventional steel rod rigging replaced with lighter carbon textile rigging.
- Mirabella V (mirabellayachts.com)
- The Mirabella V project Diary (Ron Holland Design)
- Boom-walking on Mirabella V (Scuttlebutt Photos)
- Mirabella V (High Modulus Europe Limited)
- M5 yacht (superyachts.com)
- M5 (Pendennis)
- Successful sea trials for Ron Holland-designed mega yacht M5, CharterWorld.com, 29 January 2014.
B&Q Castorama Trimaran - 8.3 tonnes - 23 m long - 30.6 m mast - "constructed
entirely .. of carbon fibre"
Designed by Nigel Irens and Benoit Cabaret
On 7 February 2005, Ellen MacArthur became the fastest sailor to complete a solo non-stop circumnavigation of the globe (71 days, 14 hours, 18 minutes). The previous record, set in 2004 by Frenchman Francis Joyon was 72 days 22 hours 54 minutes and 22 seconds. In 1998, the powered trimaran Cable & Wireless Adventurer (see above) took 74 days 20 hours with fourteen crew!
Images from http://www.diy.com/diy/jsp/aboutbandq/images/trimer.gif (left)
and http://www.solarnavigator.net/images/b_and_q_aft.jpg (right)
- B&Q Technical Specifications (SolarNavigator.net)
- Title sponsor of Ellen MacArthur
- Ellen MacArthur’s new solo 75ft trimaran lifted into the water (Southern Spars Limited)
- "Plain sailing for composites", Materials World, April 2005, 13(4), 13.
Record-breaking one piece SCRIMP motor yacht hulls (After You and Lady Leila (formerly Miss Rose)) were constructed at Horizon Yachts subsidiary Atech Composites (Kaohsiung, southern Taiwan). The Espinosa designed Horizon 130 has an overall length of 39.62 meters, a beam of 7.98 meters and a displacement of 211 tonnes and, at the time of launch, was the longest one piece SCRIMP yacht hull ever attempted in the world.
L’Hydroptère is a concept/trade name of Alain Thébault. After 20 years research and several models, he has built an 18.3 m (60-foot) vessel using "carbon fibre composite and titanium structures" and weighing just 6.5 tonnes:
L’Hydroptère setting a new record south of Lorient (Brittany)
In 2007, she claimed a record speed of 46.5 knots (>86 km/h). The World Sailing Speed Record Council (WSSRC) has ratified two world records for l’Hydroptère, set on Wednesday 4th April 2007:
- the fastest sailing vehicle over one nautical mile with an average speed of 41.69 knots (previously held by Bjorn Dunkerbeck with an average speed of 41.14 knots on a sailboard in 2006).
- the speed record over 500 meters in category D (sail surface area over 27.88 m²) with an average speed of 44.81 knots (held since 1997 by the catamaran Techniques Avancées with an average speed of 42.12 knots).
On 04 September 2009 in the Hyères harbour (near Marseille in southern France) in a 28-knot (32-mph) westerly wind, Alain Thébault and his crew achieved 51.36 knots (59.1 mph) over a distance of 500 metres and 48.72 knots (56 mph) over one nautical mile. These figures are subject to ratification by the World Sailing Speed Record Council (WSSRC).
- l’Hydroptère, http://www.hydroptere.com/
- l’Hydroptère closes on 48.7 knot sailing speed record, http://www.sail-world.com/index_n.cfm?nid=30834, 30 January 2007.
- Composites "flying" trimaran sets sailboat speed record, Composites Technology, October 2009, 15(5), 7: http://www.compositesworld.com/news/composites-quotflyingquot-trimaran-sets-sailboat-speed-record.aspx
On 14 February 2010, the BMW Oracle trimaran won the 33rd America's Cup in waters off the coast of Spain beating the Alinghi catamaran. The vessel had a 57m (190 foot) composite fixed-wing sail reportedly made using a carbon fiber and aramid-reinforced polymer spar and ribs, wrapped with a polymer film skin.
- Composite wing leads BMW Oracle team to America's Cup victory, CompositesWorld, 16 February 2010
Designed by Malcolm Barnsley (UK), Vestas SailRocket is a radical sail foiler. The first objective of the SailRocket team was to return the World Water Speed Sailing Record to the UK requiring speed under sail in excess of 47 knots over the 500m course, with a second objective to raise the world record to the magic and elusive target of 50 knots and rightfully lay claim to the title of ‘the worlds first 50 knot sailing machine’. On 3 December 2008 at the Walvis Bay speed-strip in Namibia, Paul Larsen piloted SailRocket at an average speed of 47.36 knots (54.5 mph) over a 500m course with peak speeds of 52.22 knots.
Image from http://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/photos/04/0423sailrocket/ (left)
On 16 November 2012, Vestas SailRocket broke the outright world speed sailing record at Walvis Bay in Namibia when it reached speeds of 59.23 knots (around 70 mph) over the 500m (1625 ft) course. The peak speed was 62.53 knots in winds of just 25 knots. On 28 November 2012, the SailRocket achieved an average 65.37 knots (121.21 km/h) certified by the World Sailing Speed Record Council (WSSRC) with a top speed above 67 knots. The main structure is an autoclave-cured sandwich of carbon/epoxy prepreg skins over an aramid honeycomb core. The sail is built around a carbon tube acting as a spar with polyester film wingskins.
- Composites at work for the world sailing speed record, JEC Composites magazine, December 2014, (93), 46-47.
- Cutting edge Vestas Sailrocket tops 52 knots, survives spill in record run, High Performance Composites, January 2009, 17(1), 11.
- Gurit helps Vestas sailrocket break record, Composites World, 8 December 2008.
- New version of SailRocket aims to break sailing speed world record, High-Performance Composites, May 2011, 19(3), 22-23.
- SailRocket (whbs.demon.co.uk)
- SailRocket model tests (movie)
- The World's Most Radical Boat Designs - SailRocket
- Vestas Sailrocket sets new speed record: the high-speed catamaran with wing sail, custom-built for the record run, is made with composite materials, CompositesWorld, 26 November 2012.
- L Reade, Sailing off with a world record, Composites in Manufacturing, April/May 2016, 14-17.
Team Philips/Goss Challenge
Motor Boats and Yachts
The revolutionary catamaran "Team Philips" was the dream of one man, Pete Goss. At 37 m by 21 m (120ft long, 70ft wide .. larger area than the centre court at Wimbledon) and 41 m high, the catamaran construction was closer to aerospace techniques than boat building - using preimpregated fabrics and vacuum-bagging. With wave piercing bow technology, she was a sailing spaceship in carbon fibre, and was specifically designed for The Race - a no-holds barred, no limits, round the world challenge. On its first seatrials, a large portion of the portside pontoon snapped off. The cause of the failure was identified, repairs made, and the boat relaunched for another seatrial. Just one day into that trial, near the Scilly Isles, trouble developed in one of the huge rotating wing masts. In December 2000, on the passage to the start of The Race in Barcelona, Team Philips had to be abandoned in freak weather: 70 knot winds, 10m waves and worsening weather conditions, left Pete and his crew no choice but to abandon Team Philips or risk their lives.
Images from http://www.nmmc.co.uk/index.php?page=News_Centre&newsid=18 (left)
and http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/1026891.stm (centre and right)
- Team Philips Exhibition for 2005 (National Maritime Museum Cornwall)
- David McCreary: Team Philips abandoned in North Atlantic - crew safely evacuated to a cargo ship 12/11/2000 (boats.com)
Rigging: (wing-)masts and sails
The German engineer Anton Flettner proposed the use of vertical metal wings to replace sails in 1920 . The British aeronautical engineer John Walker designed the Walker Wingsail and launched the Planesail catamaran with Wingsails in 1966. In the late 1990s, Harbor Wings (Mark Ott, David Hubbard and Sam Bradfield) developed the radical multi-hull open-ocean racer, Volantis, and subsequently an unstayed all-composite WingSail which is free to rotate in any direction and through the full 360° around the mast. The WingSail has been combined with the HWT X-3 catamaran to produce a fully-autonomous unmanned sea vessel (AUSV) . Mazza  has recently reviewed the use of modern composites and advanced software in the development of the "hard" wing sails that have changed the nature of high-performance racing.
Maltese Falcon (1200 tonnes steel/aluminium hull - 87.5 m long overall) is a US$100M superyacht with an overall length of 87.5 m and three free standing masts (each one is 57 m high and weighs 13 tons) which permits rotation of the mast to optimally catch the wind [3-7]. The carbon-fibre composite masts have embedded optical fibre sensors which report strain and stress data to the bridge. The vessel has a clipper rig based on the DynaRig concept developed in the 1960s by German hydraulics engineer Wilhelm Prolls. There are six curved carbon-fibre yards to each mast. In performance trials, she achieved 10.5 knots hard on the 15.8 knots true wind at 38 degrees relative wind angle with the topgallants and the royals furled. On a close reach at 60 degrees relative angle, the speed (still at 16 knots true wind) climbed to 14 knots.
Images from http://www.luxist.com/2006/07/16/100-million-clipper-yacht-maltese-falcon-launches/ (left) and http://www.ybw.com/auto/newsdesk/20060513151951ywnews.html (centre and right)
Magma Structures (Portsmouth) has delivered three 100m+ free-standing 50 tonne rotating carbon composite masts for a sailing superyacht under construction in a Kiel (Germany) shipyard [8-10]. The masts were designed by Dykstra Naval Architects (NL) to withstand bending loads of more than 40MN (more than twice the load on a Boeing Dreamliner wing). They support a sail area greater than a standard sized football pitch, with full automation in terms of sail deployment, setting and reefing. The masts have embedded fibre optic monitoring to permit optimised sailing performance, to verify the design concepts and to acquire load case data to minimise maintenance.
Scalvini [11 has presented a case study of the limits of non-destructive examination techniques in assessing lightning damage to a 39 m carbon/epoxy composite mast which was struck by lightning. A lightning strike might deliver 200k amps at tens of kilovolts in a fraction of a second. Absence of appropriate shielding, or an adequate conductive path to ground, is likely to result in various damage modes including matrix cracking, intraply damage and delamination. Laser shearography with dynamic excitation indicated that one side of the mast had different characteristics to the other. Static shearography, thermography and ultrasonics did not reveal any obvious damage.
The fibres in a FiberPath laminate sail (image at right from Skelley Sails) are aligned with the primary loads in the sail, and a FiberPath sail can be built with multiple fibre patterns to address secondary loads. In addition, a FiberPath sail is lighter in weight than a tri-radial sail and is aimed at a grand prix applications. In 2007, North Sails  acquired Swiss intellectual property to produce an anisotropic soft 3DL sail membrane system with specific fibre placement in a Mylar film sandwich designed to take the design loads on the sail. Their most recent development [12, 13] is the 3Di system which uses very thin (1-1.5 μm) spread tow unidirectional prepreg tapes to produce quasi-isotropic laminates and eliminate the Mylar film.
The Wind Challenger Project, a Japanese industry-university joint research project launched in October 2009, is developing rigid, retractable sails for cargo ships that harness wind-power and reduce both fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. The full-scale sails are expected to measure 50x20 m (i.e. 1,000 m2) in area. Small-scale sails (20x8 m) made of glass fiber reinforced plastic skins over a foam core were delivered in January 2014 for on-land testing in Nagasaki. The test vessel will have five 15 m high retractable sails.
image from http://d2n4wb9orp1vta.cloudfront.net/resources/images/cdn/cms/1229a_m2.jpg
- S Black, Sailing the sea with composite wings - autonomous sailing vessel patrols with patented WingSail technology, Composites Technology, April 2012, 18(2), 46-48.
- R Mazza, Wings of change .. and .. Winged history, Professional Boatbuilder, October-November 2011, (133), 70-82.
- S Black, Megayacht composite masts get "smart", High-Performance Composites, January 2007, 15(1), 44-46.
- Maltese Falcon megayacht launched with "smart" masts and yards, Composites World, September 2006, 14(5), 12.
- UK Company Engineer Rig for $100 Million Superyacht, NetComposites News, 6 July 2006.
- Maltese Falcon has landed, Yachting World, 13 June 2006.
- The Maltese Falcon log
- Magma Structures delivers world's tallest masts, http://www.materialstoday.com/carbon-fiber/news/magma-structures-deliver-worlds-tallest-masts, Reinforced Plastics/Materials Today, 16 October 2015, accessed 24 October 2015.
- Sailing Yacht A starts sea trials in Germany, accessed 26 October 2015.
- Introducing the world's tallest carbon composite, free-standing superyacht masts, accessed 26 October 2015.
- R Scalvini, Carbon and lightning, Professional BoatBuilder, December/January 2011, (128), 50-61,
- D Dawson and K Reque, Custom-engineered composite performance yacht sails, High-Performance Composites, March 2012, 20(2), 62-64.
- WE Pearson, Textiles to composites: 3D moulding and automated fibre placement for flexible membranes, Chapter 14 in J Graham-Jones and J Summerscales (editors), Marine Applications of Advanced Fibre-Reinforced Composites, Woodhead Publishing, Cambridge, 2015, 305–334.
- John Burnham and Tony Bessinger, Changes in Racing Sails and Sailmaking, Sailing World, 03 May 2004
- Bob Fraser, All About D4, Doyle’s Tough and Affordable Engineered-Laminate Sails, Silver Threads newsletter, 2003
- Tim Stodola, Laminated Sailcloth — A Cruising Option, Southwinds Media, 30 September 2002
- Sven Donaldson, Voyaging laminates, Ocean Navigator #56, September/October 1993
- Racing sails - why Fiber Path? (Ullman Skelley Sails).
- R Pemberton and J Graham-Jones, Application of composite materials to yacht rigging, Chapter 12 in J Graham-Jones and J Summerscales (editors), Marine Applications of Advanced Fibre-Reinforced Composites, Woodhead Publishing, Cambridge, 2015, 279-194.
- B Fallow, Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) sail shape optimisation, Chapter 13 in J Graham-Jones and J Summerscales (editors), Marine Applications of Advanced Fibre-Reinforced Composites, Woodhead Publishing, Cambridge, 2015, 295-303.
Canoes, kayaks, surfing etc.
The Pink Lady Atlantic row set off from St John's, Newfoundland on June 30 and was within days of breaking a world record for the fastest North Atlantic row from Canada before it was stopped by a freak wave. The structure of the boat is a carbon fibre/foam core sandwich built in four separate components (10 meter hull, forward cabin roof, the aft cabin roof and the rowing bay) joined together in the final stages of construction by a four-man Goss Composites team.
Images from http://www.gopinklady.co.uk/index.htm
The Knoydart 14' Prospector is available in a wide variety of lay-ups. The standard fibreglass lay-up (24kg) is ideal for entry level paddlers, while the Ultralight version (18kg) provides one of the lightest solo canoes available for wilderness tripping. "It is a serious all-around solo canoe that is responsive and seaworthy in grade II and III white water and yet it’s efficient enough to paddle across large bodies of open water".
Knoydart 14' Prospector image from http://www.knoydart.co.uk/display.php?category=4&id=461
Solway Dory produce sailing canoes including the Avocet open-double and fibreglass versions of the Curlew open single.
Perkins has briefly reviewed the use of materuials within surfing.
- J Perkins, Materials in Sport: Surfing, Materials World, August 2015, 23(8), 24-25.
AgriMarine Holdings (Vancouver BC) have produced a 24 m diameter fish farming system. The 3000 m3 GFRP tank is claimed to have significantly higher salmon output per volume than conventional fish farming environments. The GFRP tank uses 48 sections fabricated by vacuum infusion with six tools. An epoxy vinyl ester resin was specifically selected for corrosion resistance.
The AgriMarine SystemTM tank deployed in a farm in Lois Lake, British Columbia
- Building a better fish farm out of GFRP, Composites Manufacturing, 30 April 2015.
Natural fibres and bio-based resins
Flaxcat is a light-weight catamaran built and sailed by Niels Haarbosch and Thomas Mol (Students at Delft University of Technology - Netherlands) [1,2]. The vessel is made of natural fibres (the Dutch website says "vlas" i.e. flax, but the English translation has hemp!) in epoxy resin.
At APC Composites (Luleå - Sweden), Gustafsson has produced the hull of a small boat using flax fibres in bio-based furan resin by vacuum infusion .
The Araldite (a 6.5 metre racing yacht sponsored by Huntsman Advanced Materials) [4-8] was launched on 9 September 2010 and built to compete in the 6.50 ClasseMini series:
- the Mini Empuries (18 September 2010): a two-handed prototype race of 300 miles around the Balearic Islands with the finishing line at L’Escala in Spain. Araldite (791) withdrew "for problems in the direction of the vessel").
- the Mini Barcelona solo race (16 October 2010): a 300 mile race starting and finishing in Barcelona. Araldite (791) was placed tenth of 17 boats.
- the Mini Transat 6.50 race from La Rochelle (France) via Madeira to Salvador de Bahia (Brazil). Araldite finished in 15th place on 02 November 2011 after 28 days and 20 hours at sea.
The Araldite eco-friendly mini transat 6.50 sailing boat prototype made with hybrid carbon/flax fibre reinforcement. Image from Lineo.
Araldite uses flax fibres treated with an epoxy resin coating at Lineo in Belgium to prevent absorption of water into the flax, to promote adhesion to the epoxy and to extend the temperature resistance to 250°C and hence allow prepregging. Structures including the hull, deck, helm and toe-rails were built by IDB Marine de Tregunc in Brittany using 50% flax fibres and 50% carbon fibres.
Flaxland (UK) [9, 10] have built a canoe using one layer of Composites Evolution Biotex Flax Hopsack weave and Sustainable Composites EcoComp UV-L ultraviolet-cure linseed-based bioresin to cover a marine plywood and pine frame. Flaxland are reported to have made seven prototypes using both the Biotex Flax Hopsack (net weight under 12 kg) and Biotex 3H Satin weaves (8 kg) for racing. The canoe has shown good results during long term (over one year) "durability and water resistance tests".
Campion Marine has announced that it will manufacture all new boats with Ashland Performance Materials Envirez® bio-derived soybean oil and corn derived ethanol resin . Ashland claim that the change will reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) missions to the atmosphere by more than 45k tonnes.
The Breton NavEcoMat collaboration have produced the 4 m 30 kg Naskapi demonstrator canoe entirely from flax fibre and PLA (polylacticacid) biocomposites using the vacuum-bagged film stacking technique .
Bosser et al  have described the design, development and manufacture of a resin-infused all-flax composite 7-metre prototype trimaran "Gwalaz" launched in May 2013 and based on the Tricat (glass/polyester/foam) design. Gwalaz is constructed using 109 kg flax fibres in 280 kg bio-based polyester resin with 33 kg of balsa, cork and plywood as core materials.
The Gold of Bengal association has launched a 100% jute fibre reinforced polyester resin biocomposite sailboat . The Pàt technical jute fibre (ρ = 1.44, EUD = 19.8 GPa, σ' = 165 MPa) was specifically designed for composite applications. The vessel has sailed around the Bay of Bengal for six months.
Lake Constance, a German canoe designer, has used vacuum-infused Composites Evolution Biotex flax for its "Felicity" agile solo freestyle/touring canoe [15-17].
- If you dont smoke it, sail it, Delft University of Technology, 07 April 2002.
- Moeder natuur helpt de industrie een handje, Delft University of Technology, 4 March 2004.
- New Classes of Engineering Composites Materials from Renewable Resources, Final Report on European Commission Framework Programme 6 Project NMP2-CT-2005-515769 BIOCOMP, November 2008.
- Araldite sponsors pioneering eco-friendly Mini Transat 6.50 sailing boat prototype, DPA: The Engineer's Guide to New Products and Design Ideas, 09 September 2010.
- Eco-friendly Mini Transat 6.50 sailing boat prototype, NetComposites, 19 September 2010.
- Racing yacht construction part-replaces carbon fibre with flax, British Plastics and Rubber, October 2010, 34.
- A flax-composite boat for transatlantic races, JEC Composites magazine, August-September 2011, (67), 33-34.
- Flax fiber racing boat completes Transat race, Composites World, 14 November 2011.
- Flaxland create canoe from Composites Evolution's Biotex Flax, accessed on 12 October 2011.
- Flaxland produce flax canoe/kayaks, accessed 12 October 2011.
- Campion Marine selects Ashland bio-based resin for all new boats, Reinforced Plastics, March-April 2010, 54(2), 8. Online, 14 January 2010.
- First small watercraft that is compostable at end of life, JEC Composites magazine, March 2012, (71), 24 (webpage requires registration).
- L Bosser, E Poisson, E Grossman and P Davies, The first all-flax composite trimaran, JEC Composites magazine, October 2013, (84), 33-35 (webpage requires registration).
- J de Mony-Pajol, C de Chatelperron and G Cail, The first 100% jute reinforced biocomposite sailboat, a prototype of importance in bangladesh, JEC Composites magazine, 2014, 87, 76-77 (webpage requires registration).
- Flax reinforced composite used in lightweight sports canoe, Reinforced Plastics website, 10 September 2014.
- Lightweight sports canoe relies on flax fiber reinforcement, Composites World, 15 September 2015.
- Biotex floats the boat, Composites in Manufacturing magazine, September 2014, 6.
Composites and fire (Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Regulations)
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) held a meeting on 10 March 2011 in Southampton to discuss a UK submission to the next IMO (International Maritime Organisation) Sub-Committee on Fire Protection on the difficult subject of using composite materials structurally in ships. In February 2015, the IMO SDC (Ship Design and Construction) meeting provisionally approved the Guidelines to accept a FRP composite ship design in the context of fire safety issues (Tommy Hertzberg e-mail to E-LaSS participantsof 23 February 2015).
Also see: Indonesian stealth boats
Video: Princess 95 yacht "Queen Anna" on fire in Fethiye
Fiberglass exhaust tube offer lasting durability
End-of-Life (EOL) vessels