Why Fiberglass Boats are in High Demand

Why Carbon Fiber Boats are in High Demand

For thousands of years boat builders have been striving to build boats that are lighter while maintaining their durability.  Today we have materials that allow us to build boats from aluminum and composite materials that give us lighter boats that are faster and easier to navigate.  Aluminum and carbon fiber boats are in high demand from fishermen and recreational boat users.  Let’s look at why carbon fiber boats are in high demand.

Boat Building

One of the biggest advantages of having a carbon fiber boat is how little maintenance they require.  Wooden boats need constant maintenance and you are always scraping them down, repainting them and making sure that the wood is still buoyant.  Aluminum boats have the same issue, you need to constantly check them for dents.  Carbon fiber composite boats are made from one single piece and they don’t require any kind of assembly.  Here is a look at how carbon fiber boats are made.

Wooden boats are made from treated wooden planks that will shrink as they get exposed to water.  Fiberglass composite boats are not affected by moisture or the climate and you never have to worry about the planks shrinking.  There is no corrosion that happens with exposure to the water.  Aluminum boats, while are incredibly popular they too can corrode in the water.

Simple Construction

One of the best perks of a fiberglass and carbon fiber boats is that the construction is so simple.  Boat builders create a basic mold and then they can produce as many hulls as they want to.  This is also a huge time saver, a carbon fiber boat can be built in a quarter of the time and there is very little skill required.  Wooden boat building can take years to learn.

Disadvantages of this Type of Construction

While carbon fiber boats are lightweight and fast they aren’t perfect there are a few disadvantages.  You can’t make a boat out of any carbon fiber material whatsoever you will need to have the fiberglass composite manufactured.  You are also going to need a mold, so you will have to decide ahead of time exactly what style of boat that you are going to need.  You cannot change your idea on the design once the mold has been made.

The cost can be another disadvantage, if you want a fiberglass boat that is made from a standard mold then it won’t be that expensive.  If you want a custom-made boat that requires not only the manufacture of the boat but the mold as well then you’re going to be spending some money.

There are some disadvantages to a carbon fiber composite boat, they are vastly outweighed by the advantages.  You never really have to worry about maintenance and they are lightweight and faster than a wooden boat, and more durable than aluminum.

See sparteccomposites.com for more info about composite engineering

Carbon Fiber and the Automobile Industry

Carbon Fiber and the Automobile Industry

Carbon fiber isn’t something new, in fact it has been used in manufacturing since the 60’s.  While it got its start in the aerospace and defense industries, carbon fiber was expensive to manufacture back then and neither the defense industry nor NASA worry too much about budgets.  Today the cost of manufacturing is much cheaper and it has so many practical uses that you can find composite carbon fiber in many industries.  Carbon fiber and the automobile industry go back almost as far but now you will find it in manufactured automobiles instead of just custom race cars.

Production of Carbon Fiber

There are two different methods that will produce carbon fiber, the first is the “wet” lay-up and it has been used since engineers first started developing composites.  It is how you create shapes with mold using either fiberglass or carbon fiber and this method is the most cost effective and the easiest to produce.  During the manufacturing process the fibers are put into a mold and then the resin is poured over them, it is added in layers until you have the right thickness that you are going to need.  There is an art to the process, too much resin and it becomes too heavy while reducing the strength.   The disadvantage of this method is that you can end up with an inconsistent product.

The other method for creating carbon fiber is the pre-impregnated lay-up and it is a newer method of manufacturing that gives better results.  Using this method a small amount of the resin is added to the carbon fibers at the factory and then it is frozen to prevent curing.  This method of manufacturing gives carbon fiber that is up to 20% stronger than “wet” lay-up method.

Carbon Fiber and the Automotive Industry

The automobile industry is constantly looking for methods to make cars cheaper, lighter, faster and stronger and they have been experimenting with carbon fiber materials since the early 70’s.  Ford built an entire car of carbon fiber composites and GM introduced a concept car built out of the material.  The car made by GM was so fuel efficient it got nearly 100 mpg.  You’re probably wondering if the mileage was that good why aren’t all cars made from carbon composite fiber and the answer is the cost.  While the cost is coming down it still low enough to manufacture an entire car.  However, higher end cars like BMW and Mercedes are introducing carbon fiber parts.  Carbon fiber parts are stronger, perform better and they look good.

Carbon fiber is going to play a much larger role in the automotive industry in the future.  Car enthusiasts want it for its aesthetic appeal along with its strength and durability.