Chomarat (Le Cheylard, France; Anderson, S.C., USA) reported on Nov. 14 that its C-PLY thin-ply carbon fiber multiaxial reinforcements will be used to fabricate Jean-Marie Finot’s latest yacht, the Albatros. Both the hull and the deck of the boat will be made from C-PLY.
The aim of the Albatros is to give everyone the opportunity to enjoy the feeling of the surf and the joy of sailing. Because C-PLY is both light and strong, it helps to make the Albatros a boat that is fast, sturdy and easy to handle. Thanks to its composite reinforcements, the boat’s hull weighs just 28 kg/62 lb and the deck a mere 22 kg/49 lb. The parts are 2 to 6 mm (0.08 to 0.24 inch) thick.
“The combination of different C-PLY reinforcements in a monolithic laminate has a sandwich structure effect that enables a 25 to 30 percent increase in rigidity compared with the classic reinforcement stack (0°/90°),” says Jean-Marie Finot, founder and CEO of FINOT group.
By layering multiaxials in a monolithic structure and aligning fibers parallel to the length of the boat, the boat’s rigidity can be significantly improved, enabling it to withstand flexion. The pressure of the waves is supported by the boat’s shell, comprised of all the vertical structures that make up the exterior part of the boat’s hull. This shell must have bend resistance from one longitudinal section to the other, from one rail to the other.
“In other specific structures with even more demanding characteristics — parts subjected to forces along a specific vector, visible automobile parts or those subject to impact loading in aeronautics — C-PLY can be used by removing fibers placed on the perpendicular of the main effort axis and/or by using extremely thin basic plys (50g/m2). This means we can develop totally innovative multiaxial materials,” says Philippe Sanial, group R&D director at Chomarat.
Chomarat says C-PLY enables parts to be mass produced because it can be manipulated without risk during the resin transfer molding (RTM) stage, and because it is a drapable material that can be molded around the component. “We chose these carbons because they are compatible with vinyl ester resin, a material with the best resistance to corrosion and water absorption that is usually used with fiberglass. These carbons also enable parts to be mass-produced using the innovative RTM process we developed for large-scale parts. The Albatros is the only boat currently manufactured using this process,” says Jean-Marie Finot.