CW Blog

Removing barriers to lightweighting ships with composites

Glass and carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (GFRP and CFRP) composites have been used to build marine vessels for decades, including numerous 40- to 60-meter minehunters and even larger vessels, including the Swedish Navy’s 72-meter-long Visby Class Corvette and the 75-meter-long sailing yacht Mirabella V. The 141-meter motor yacht Swift 141 (renamed Yas) is a Dutch steel frigate rebuilt using GFRP/CFRP in below-deck soles and three-deck superstructure (see “From frigate to luxury gigayacht”), including a composite-to-steel deck joint.  

And yet, composites are rarely used in shipbuilding. This is mainly due to the Safety Of Life At Sea (SOLAS) regulations issued by the International Maritime Organization (IMO, London, U.K.), which required that commercial ships be built in steel until until the MSC/Circ. 1002 was issued in 2002 permitting alternative designs.

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3D filament winding enables vehicle seating concept

Sustainability and environmental responsibility are becoming increasingly prevalent drivers of technology trends in the automotive industry. Low-energy and low-emission vehicles have become a priority for the international automotive sector, and trends toward alternative transportation technologies such as electromobility and urban air mobility (UAM) are gaining momentum. OEMs are looking to emerging materials and processes as an enabler for these prospective modes of travel, but change in the automotive sector is often slow going. For new materials and processes to be fully adopted, they must not only be qualified, they must be cost-effective and they must enable high-volume production.                     

Recently, an innovative project with potential for the automotive sector — as well as emerging markets such as hypercars and air-taxis — demonstrated how new materials, processes and technologies, and close collaboration between companies, might enable next-generation modes of transportation. The goal of the project was to completely rethink a car seat using cutting-edge generative technologies, and to do this using only as much of the right material as needed in the right place — and to yield results quickly. The resulting ultra-lightweight, metal-composite hybrid vehicle seat prototype was developed, from design to manufacture, in just seven months, through a simulation-driven design approach, agile project management methods and close cooperation and system integration between the companies involved. 

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Product Roundup: November 2019


Composite materials and innovations are constantly evolving. In addition to industry news, features, blog posts and podcasts, CW also maintains a comprehensive collection of product announcements. This roundup includes links to regular posts concerning the latest products of interest to the composites industry.

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The Rubik’s Cube of working efficiently with different composite materials


In the race to scale up production to meet commercial aircraft demand, there is no single way to make the best airplane. As aerospace OEMs consider all of their material and processing options, they will continue to find innovative applications for both thermoset (TS) and thermoplastic composites (TPC), not to mention other choices such as dry carbon fiber fabrics and ceramic matrix composites (CMC).

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