Solar boat: Bonding the best

Adhesives supplier SCIGRIP (Durham, N.C.) sponsors the entry from Poland, dubbed the SCIGRIP Solar Boat, during the fifth Dong Energy Solar Challenge for boats, held June 28 to July 5, in The Netherlands.


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The fifth gathering of the Dong Energy Solar Challenge for boats, held June 28 to July 5, in The Netherlands, was the occasion for a multistage, 250-km/155-mile journey along Dutch canals. Participants competed in customized vessels powered only by energy from the sun, collected by solar panels. The race attracted teams of composite engineers, boatbuilders, designers and technical students from around the world, who responded with many lightweight and sustainable boat designs. Adhesives supplier SCIGRIP Smarter Adhesive Solutions (Durham, N.C.) sponsored the entry from Poland, dubbed the SCIGRIP Solar Boat. SCIGRIP provided technical advice, as well as structural bonding products, both throughout the build process and during the race. 

The SCIGRIP Solar Boat Team, from Cree Yacht (Gdynia, Poland), is well-versed in the use of advanced composites and has competed in the Challenge since its inception. Team leader Bartosz Puchowski says its 2014 entry is the team’s most lightweight structure thus far. SCIGRIP’s two-component, high-viscosity methacrylate (MMA) adhesive, SG 230HV, was used to bond the most demanding joints, including bulkheads, engine column, and floater beam sections. Cure cycle duration is reportedly adjustable from 30 to 120 minutes, which gave the team greater flexibility in working times. A black-pigmented formulation of SCIGRIP’s SG3000 was used to bond the deck to the infused hull. SG100 White was used to adhere the structure’s catamaran floats to the deck, providing UV protection and preventing discoloration as well.  

Before the competition began, SCIGRIP also issued specially packaged “Repair Packs” to its own team and the other 42 participating teams.  The pack included a broad selection of SCGRIP fast-curing and waterproof adhesives formulated to bond easily with composite substrates as well as wood, aluminum and steel. 

Poland took 2nd place in 2008 and came in 3rd — but received the Innovation Award for the lightest boat in the competition — in 2012. In 2014, however, Poland’s team and the SCIGRIP Solar Boat finally placed 1st, finishing the five-stage, week-long competition four minutes and 18 seconds ahead of the closest rival.

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