CST Composites develops carbon fiber rowing shafts

The Australian fabricator uses filament winding to produce shafts are 10 percent stiffer and lighter than competing materials.

CST Composites (Sydney, Australia) reports that it has started producing carbon fiber shafts, for surf and rowing scull oars. The product has been developed over the last 12 months in close relationship with Jacoars. The supplied oars were used by Ativo, an entrant in Ocean Thunder Series, part of the Australian Pro Surf Boat Championship. The televised series was contested over four weekends of racing, in a multiple race format with Ativo winning the event with 61 points.

Design development included finite element analysis (FEA) of the product to optimize design. The finished shafts are 10 percent stiffer and 10 percent lighter than competing products, says CST, which uses filament winding to produce the shifts. CST filament winding and precision CNC grinding are part of the in-house technology used during the oar manufacture. This included custom mandrels as well as tubing and machinery.   

CST is chasing traditional markets that would have normally used prepreg fabric technology. CST sasys that its proven track record over the past 14 years in its small-boat, high-performance marine market proves that automated filament winding is a viable method that more than competes with traditional fabric-wrapped prepreg. In the past year, CST masts have won seven world championships and 13 national titles.

Both the mast and oar markets are performance, cost and aesthetics driven. “The products need to look good as well as perform. Filament-wound products can often look pretty industrial, however with precision band width and accurate resin content control the finish is excellent, eliminating the need for secondary processing,” says Luka Damic, CST development engineer.