Material selection optimizes power-to-weight ratio for twin-masted catamaran

Composites are the key when Pauger Carbon Composites (Budapest, Hungary) builds the Fifty-Fifty, a twin-mast catamaran, the design objective for which is the best possible power-to-weight ratio for high speed over long distances.

When Pauger Carbon Composites (Budapest, Hungary) built the Fifty-Fifty, a twin-mast catamaran, for this year’s Blue Ribbon Regatta on Hungary’s Lake Balaton, the design objective was the best power-to-weight ratio possible for high speed over long distances. “In putting the two masts side by side, we embraced a completely new ... concept, which required a brand new solution for fixing the double masts. Therefore, selection of the right materials was of the utmost importance,” says Pauger’s owner/managing director Denes Paulovits.

In consultation with Huntsman Advanced Materials (The Woodlands, Texas) Budapest-based distributor Farix Ltd., Pauger selected Huntsman’s hot-curing infusion system (Araldite LY 1564/Aradur 2954) for the sandwich-construction hull. With low viscosity, long pot life and a high Tg (>140°C/284°F) suitable for the yacht’s dark red color, the epoxy provides good mechanical, dynamic and thermal properties and good surface finish. AIREX, BALTEK, BANOVA (Sins, Switzerland), provided its recently introduced and trademarked AIREX T92 SealX polyethylene terephthalate foam for the core. Its very low resin uptake helped minimize boat weight.

For the masts and other autoclaved parts, the challenge was finding a suitable epoxy prepreg for Pauger’s in-house built prepreg machine. Farix recommended Huntsman’s Germanischer Lloyd-certified Araldite LY 1556/Aradur 1571/Accelerator 1573/Hardener XB 3403. Pauger selected Araldite AW4859/Hardener HW4859 to bond the mast tracks and other parts. The adhesive is formulated to allow lap-shear levels of >35 MPa/>5,076 psi.

Paulovits credits the resins and core with a big role in optimizing the manufacturing process, enabling construction in 15 weeks. And the Fifty-Fifty completed the 150-km/93-mile regatta in a record time of 10 hours and 13 minutes.

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