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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Carbon Fibre Bicycle Frame


If you are a racing bike enthusiast, you would have probably heard about steel, aluminium or even the expensive titanium material for bicycle frames already. The latest in technology has made some materials even better. An example of such material is the carbon fibre.
What is carbon fibre? Some people would prefer to call it by its scientific name, thermoplastic. Unlike the conventional materials, carbon fibre offers big potential for the future of bicycle materials.
In its early development, carbon fibre was not favoured. There were problems with the bending of frames and frames which had aluminium lugs. There were also additional disasters like the failure of adhesive methods due to the limited technology at that time.
This material is a type of polymer. Therefore, the formation methods are very important in producing a high-strength thermoplastic. There are many kinds of construction techniques. The most common method is by mixing sheets of carbon fibre fabric together with both sides of the mould. Then, a process called curing ensues. The result is a monocoque carbon frame. Monocoque utilizes the exterior structure to support the overall weight and stress induced to the bicycle. Why is this type of construction method so popular? That is because it provides excellent protection against vibration and high efficiency when paddling.
Why should you choose carbon-fibre type of material for your bicycle? You would want a carbon-fibre type if you are looking for the highest stiffness and strength to weight ratio. But you should also be prepared to fork out more money in the process. It is the latest breakthrough in bicycle frame advancements.
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Carbon Fibre Bicycle Frame



Monday, March 11, 2013

Hemp Reinforced Plastics


Henry Ford was the first person to develop a hemp plastic. The famous pictures and film of Henry Ford striking a model-T with an axe and the rebound of the axe head was a means of showing off the amazing strength of fibre composites. What type of composite plastic this was is unknown.
Polypropylene is a versatile plastic and probably the most commonly used in the world today. Hemp plastic was used the first time to make the 'High-Fly' Frisbee. The annual use of plastic around the world has increased from a mere 5m or so tonnes in the 1950's, to a massive 100m tonnes today. From a single tonne of plastic, manufacturers could produce 20,000 two litre bottles, or 100,000 shopping bags. Today's average household dustbin has a 7% plastic content.
Although a significant proportion of PP is used in fibre production, the remainder is nearly all used in injection moulding. Although hemp fibre blended with PP - whilst improvements to heat properties and tensile strength of the plastic are desirable - is more expensive generally.
Only in the Last year have we seen the introduction of new larger production centres which have improved the cost of production and include the manufacture of hemp reinforced PP, Polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) and PolyLactic acid (PLA). A 50% hemp content is usual in these plastics but up to 80% can be used in some materials. Mixing hemp with PLA to make plastics produces a material that is 100% biodegradable.
Hemp Plastic can be produced in various forms to manufacture:
GPS units
Smartphones
Laptops
Electrical points
Cookware handles
Lamps
Toys
Railway industry
Water supply materials
Gardening Equipment
Many other household items
In PP reinforced glass-fibre, heat-resistant ABS and PC/ABS applications, hemp is the more cost-effective choice with the added bonus of enhanced material properties. Flame retardant hemp can be produced using far fewer toxic chemicals than are common in the plastics industry. Some types of hemp plastic can now be made from rice starch with research into blow-moulding currently at a high level. Once perfected, this would allow the use of hemp plastic in the manufacture of plastic bottles and bags. This type of plastics production is usually based on corn starch.
The granular form of hemp plastic has only been available in recent times, with rapid growth now expected in the hemp plastics industry - especially as oil prices keep rising and reserves keep reducing - hemp can be produced sustainably and at a stable cost. Agreements on CO2 reduction by governments globally plus the move towards a non-reliance on oil makes hemp a clear choice for plastics manufacturers of the future.
Hemp plastic products can be made using the same injection moulding machinery as with conventional plastics. Visit the website below to see a didgeridoo made from 100% hemp! Extremely strong, this material is made entirely without resins or glues. The full range of applications for these patented plastics has not yet been found, with ideas for new products arising every day. In years to come you may be driving cars that possess strength previously unknown, similar to the model-T that Henry Ford used as a demonstration in the early 20th century.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Fibreglass Mouldings With Hand-Lay Technique


As with many types of material, fibreglass mouldings can be created with a range of methods. From garden shed based laminating for personal projects, to large scale manufacture, there are numerous methods of applications and manufacture of fibreglass available. As you can imagine most of the manufacturing methods have evolved for the years and have been created to solve a certain problems that have arisen. You could say that fibreglass has gone through 70 years of evolution, and possibly more so than most other materials in that time. As wood and metals have been used for a much longer time, fibreglass has experienced a rapid advancement. One of the the first methods employed to create fibreglass mouldings is called Hand lay. This is often the starting manufacturing technique learned by trainee laminations.
Since the invention of GRP (fibreglass) at the end of the World War 2 hand lay is both the most simple, and cost effective method when compared to the alternatives. Spray Lay is also cost effective, but does not result in such high quality products. Despite the key qualities of hand lay, the fibreglass mouldings produced with it can yield a range of results. An untrained or inexperienced laminator can often only produce very crude edges and simple shapes. The most common unprofessional use of hand-lay is usually applied like a paint, which can result in often messy repairs or products. These bad applications often give fibreglass a bad name, however with a professional Fibreglass mouldings solutions company, hand lay can be a hallmark of quality.
Far from garden shed kit cars and boat repairs fibreglass can provide an unmatched level of consistent quality when compared other materials. When the hand lay process is combined with high quality tooling, moulds, and a capable skilled laminator the quality can be unmatched. Unlike high quantity mass manufacturing methods, your gaining the experience of the laminator in each product. You gain multiple sets of eyes, constantly providing strict quality control. You may think, like other hand crafting methods that you gain imperfections, and subtle differences in each product. But with Fibreglass, a high quality mould ensures every product is identical. Hand laid fibreglass often results in the best quality GRP, perfect for high fidelity products for fibreglass furniture and technologies.
You can see examples of this in many airports, and mass transit terminals as they are well suited for those types of installations. This method is also good for high performance uses, many racing mouldings often employ the use of hand laid fibreglass. It is still even used by the ministry of defence, and many of their contractors for radomes, shrouds and other military equipment. This is due to its hard wearing nature, and its microwave transparency. Military uses often test fibreglass to its limit, and many of the Fibreglass mouldings have been made with sufficient layers, and technologically advanced glass fibre weaves that allow GRP to have bullet proof qualities. Although Perspex, Kevlar, and a variety of metals are usually the first choice for bullet proofing when human life is involved.

About the Author :
Dave has worked in both the IT, and the fibreglass worlds for over 20 years now. Based in sussex which is the heart of the British GRP world he now owns his own fibreglass mouldings company. He often rambles on about GRP and its benefits, and now he turns some of those ramblings into articles. He hopes you enjoy them

Monday, March 4, 2013

Kevlar Body Armor and Bulletproff Vests


Body armors are protective shields that stop the projectiles from penetrating into the body. Present day armors are generally called as bulletproof vests. Moreover, the advancement in the ammunition technology has lead to the development of different types of body shields. Police personnel, army men and private security guards mainly use these bulletproof vests.
The design of body armor and the material used in them varies. Kevlar fiber is the most effectual material used to make body shields or armors in recent days. The unique characteristic of the Kevlar is that it is lightweight. However, it is stronger than the hardest steel available.
The Kevlar fibers are twisted and interwoven individually covered by other materials such as resin as well as plastic. Kevlar material is capable of absorbing huge energy.
Types Of Body Armors:
1. Soft bullet proof vest: Police personnel and private security guards use this type of vest very commonly. They are made of woven fibers and soft clothing, which are interwoven together into net. Soft bullet proof vests protect the users from ordinary weapons and reduce the impact of bullet by dispersing its energy. These bullet proof vests are incapable to protect from high caliber ammunition.
2. Interceptor vests: Interceptor bulletproof vests are made of Kevlar vest and other small protective plates. They weigh around 16.4 lbs. These plates are removable and serve as protection to throat, groin, front and back. These types of vests are capable of stopping 7.62 mm of bullets from penetrating into the body.
3. Personnel Kevlar vest: This type of physical armor or vest is made of thick Kevlar filler. Personnel Kevlar vest has different sections to offer better fit. This type of Kevlar vest has swivel shaped shoulder pads, two frontal pockets, a ¾th collar, two hangers to hold grenade and butt patches at the shoulder area to carry a rifle.
4. Dragon skin armor: Dragon skin armor is made of small spherical discs. The discs used are of silicon carbide ceramic, which are overlapped one over the other same as that of fish scales. The peculiar arrangement of this armor offers higher flexibility and protects the body from the multiple hits.
Written by : content Marcia Henin on behalf of Israel-Gear.com - provider of Body armor [http://www.israel-gear.com/servlet/the-BulletProof-Products-cln-Bullet-proof-vest/Categories], Bulletproof vest [http://www.israel-gear.com/servlet/the-BulletProof-Products/Categories] and Kevlar vest
Bulletproff Vest

Monday, February 25, 2013

Kevlar Toughened Bike Tires

Kevlar Toughened Tyre
Towards the end of last year I had had an absolute enough of punctures, I was getting them almost each time I got on my bike to ride to work and sometimes I would have one on the way there and then another on the way home. Once I even had two on the way home and was so fed up that I walked into a bike shop and bought a new inner tube and asked the boys to fit it for me. As my journey to work is 14 miles you may understand why this was becoming tiresome.
So, the guys at work started telling me about the toughened tires that you can by, specifically they were signing the praises of the Continental GatorSkin Tires which are the ones that I know own. But there are many types of brands that manufacture the Kevlar lined tires that are compatible with the Continental brand.
Though I was still a little unsure and skeptical about these tires especially the investment I would have to make, I did it because I could not bare the thought of another puncture too or from work ever again. At the same time as ordering the tires I also opted for new inner tubes so that the whole package would be new and there would therefore be no weak point. The tires arrived and though they were tough to fit, I used a little talc to make sure that the two would not stick, now I have absolute confidence in my lovely bike and once more I feel that I truly love riding my bike.
Its been one month now and I've not had to pump up my tires because they are sound, it's a joy to ride to work if not very tiring but I finally feel confident that I do not need to leave early and that I've no longer waiting for that little hiss to work its way out of the tire.
For more information about Kevlar Bike Tires and the Puncture Resistant Tires check out my other articles.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Kevlar Gloves


Gloves are those protective garments that we wear on our hands, either to protect ourselves from cold, harsh weather conditions or from dangerous tools with which we work, or even from harsh detergents that we use as we do our washing. They have a long history that extends to the days of Queen Elizabeth. Made from different materials and in different sizes, they can conveniently be used to meet the needs of different individuals for different purposes.
You will find these garments, also known as mitts, being used in garden work, kitchen work, driving, riding of motorcycles as well as in sports activities like rugby, baseball, skiing among others. From this it is easy to tell that there are many types of mitts. Among them are the kevlar gloves are just among the many types.
Kevlar gloves are made from a very special fiber, and their main use is in the factory or industrial setting, especially the one that specializes in construction. They are ideal because they protect the hands from cuts and abrasions. They are made from such a thick material that is not easily penetrated, and which on the other hand offers support to the wrists and fingers.
Kevlar mitts were developed in Du Pont in 1965 by Stephanie Kwolekk and Herbert Blades and by the 70s it was commercially in use. The fiber that makes them is quite exceptional, highly resistant to high temperatures, as high as 350 degrees Celsius, meaning that they do not melt easily, neither can you burn your hands easily. Try them!

About the Author :
Peter Gitundu Creates Interesting And Thought Provoking Content on Gloves. For More Information, Read More Of His Articles Here GLOVES If You Enjoyed This Article,

Monday, February 18, 2013

Things You May Want to Know About Mad River Kevlar Canoes


If Batman had a canoe (and he probably does) it would most likely be a mad river Kevlar canoe. Why, you ask? Well, Kevlar is a revolutionary material that is the culmination of advanced material technology.
Mad river Kevlar canoes are sought after because of their strength. The secret to this strength and durability lies behind the adaptability of Kevlar as a material. There is an eastern parable that concerns a bamboo plant and a mango tree. It is said that during a huge storm, the bamboo plant kept swaying and bending with the wind while the tree resisted the wind using its strength. After the storm had passed, the bamboo plant remained whole and standing while the tree was torn down by the storm.
Mad river Kevlar canoes pretty much work on the same principle. With them, you can get the durability you want and you don't have to worry about losing your investment because of an unfortunate turn of events. These watercrafts have the privilege to claim being as strong as steel. And this is true. Pound for pound, Kevlar is as durable as steel. Usually, in order to be as strong as a mad river Kevlar canoe, you'll need to find much heavier materials for a canoe. This means that, in order to have durability of the canoe, you will have to sacrifice maneuverability.
We all know how important it is to be able to maneuver your canoe quickly in rapids. You do not have to be a canoe enthusiast in order to understand the danger of not being able to react quickly to what is happening around you. These units do not have this problem. Kevlar is a material as strong and yet lighter than steel. This means that you have the best of both worlds in terms of strength and maneuverability. This is important, since you need to have the best equipment in order to assure your safety while you're having fun outdoors.
We cannot predict the things that may happen on a trip. The best we can do is be prepared for every situation that we may encounter. Having a mad river Kevlar canoe can definitely count as being prepared. With them, you can be sure to handle any situation in a canoe trip. There is one disadvantage with them also: the price. These type of canoes cost a whole lot more than aluminum or wooden or even fiberglass canoes. What's the reason for this, you ask?
Well, for starters, Kevlar is not a cheap material to manufacture. It is 20 times stronger than steel and a whole lot more expensive. The technology behind achieving the lightness and durability of mad river Kevlar canoes is a bit complicated to explain. Suffice to say that Kevlar is very strong on a molecular level. Mad river Kevlar canoes are also expensive because of the fact that Kevlar is not an easy material to work with. It requires a lot of effort to create them. Effort, as you may well know, means money.
Of course, the price is well worth the prize. You can be sure that what you get is the best product for your money. With all of the advantages of Kevlar, what else do you want?
Oh yeah, and you did know that Kevlar is bulletproof, right?

About the Author :
Marina Rodriguez is the webmaster of a website about alpinestars gloves [http://www.alpinestarsgloves.org/] and alpinestars gp pro gloves [http://www.alpinestarsgloves.org/alpinestars-gp-pro-gloves.php]

Monday, February 11, 2013

Fibreglass Moulds in Modern Industry


It's a telling fact that modern industry still hasn't found a substance to top fibreglass. Fibreglass moulds have been around for almost a century and they're still top of the list when it comes to manufacturing strong, lightweight and durable solutions to almost every basic engineering need.
What fibreglass does, that no other material can do so well, is to combine cost effectiveness, lightness and versatility with unbeatable strength. The glass fibres in the plastic (fibreglass is also known as GRP or Glass Reinforced Plastic) give the material a tensile strength far greater than any other substance of similar weight: while the plastic itself allows moulding into an almost limitless variety of shapes and sizes. As a result, fibreglass moulds can be used to cast objects with an equally unbounded quantity of intended uses. Car bodies, roller coaster units, sound baffles, septic tanks, chemical processing tanks, warehouse roofs: the possibilities are only limited by the imaginations of the people who build these things in the first place.
Though the moulding technology has developed over the last 50 years, the material hasn't. Testament enough to its quality and variety of application, and reason enough for the industry to continue developing more and more ingenious ways of moulding the stuff in the first place. Modern fibreglass moulds can construct hugely complicated shapes by forming the objects as discrete parts, which are then "sewn" together using modern machining processes. In this way, even the body of a high performance sports car can be made completely from fibreglass, whose lightness and strength makes a huge contribution to the car's performance. Its weight ensures maximum speed while its strength means that speed can be attained without fear that heavy torque forces will damage the vehicle's structure.
There's a use for moulded fibreglass in almost every area of UK industry - from the flamboyant and unusual, such as the production of high speed vehicles (Formula 1 racing boats have fibreglass hulls) to the eminently practical. Fibreglass moulds offer the perfect construction method for stadium seating, leisure centre fittings and aquatic sports equipment as well as the objects we see daily on our roads and in our towns: bollards, safety cones, speed camera casings and traffic light lenses. According to application, fibreglass, or Glass Reinforced Plastic, can be a high performance material used to combine lightness of weight with extremely streamlined and force-resistant shapes; or a cost effective way of providing mass produced civic furniture.
It's nice to think that, in this age of continual replacement, one material is going as strong (and as light, and as versatile) as it was 50 years ago. Unlike almost any other type of material (steel gave way to alloys; wood gave way to brick) used in large concentrations in the modern world, fibreglass and fibreglass moulds have held sway at the top of their varied "professions" ever since day one. And they don't look like changing any time soon. For versatility, performance and thoroughly up to date flexibility, there's only one substance to choose.
Stuart Pease (Fibreglass) Ltd are the UK's premier fibreglass manufacturers and GRP make glass reinforced plastic or fibreglass moulds to suit the customer needs.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Manufacturing of FRP Boat


Most yachts and boats today are constructed of glass-reinforced plastic (GRP). This strong and resilient material is a combination of a resin (which is made to harden or set chemically) and a strong reinforcement material, usually fibres of glass, which gives the material its common name of fibreglass.
The resin may comprise polyester, solvents, catalysts and other additives. The reinforcement is either glass fibre cloth (a smooth woven fabric), roving (a coarse, basket-like woven fabric) or mat (a random combination of many shortfibre strands of glass).
Production begins with the formation of a smooth female mould (itself usually made of GRP laminate) over a precisely constructed wooden plug, which establishes the hull shape. The colour of the hull is established by gelcoat resin, sprayed against a parting agent, previously applied to the surface of the mould.
Glass and resin are then combined in a hand lay-up process to produce the hull structure. Thickness can be varied by the composition and number of layers and is determined by the correct compromise between the strength and lightness required over different sections of the hull. The deck is produced in the same way.
Thereafter the real skill lies in the fitting out. This includes the construction of bulkheads (athwartships hull-stiffening panels), joinery of the interior and the proper connection of all elements of GRP, wood and metal. 'Sandwich' construction involves laminates of GRP enclosing a core of closed-cell foam or balsa wood. This provides a stiffer structure, weight-for-weight, but has reduced impact resistance. Fittings have to be attached to sandwich hulls and decks carefully, so as not to allow water to seep in and degrade the core.
Increasingly more advanced materials are entering the boat building trade. Epoxy resins and graphite aramid fibres such as KevlarTM, carbon and other new reinforcements promise remarkable strength, stiffness and structural weight-efficiency.
Wooden boat construction
Since the beginning of time, wood has been the traditional boatbuilding material. Ancient ships, and until the nineteenth century, trading and naval vessels, were constructed of wood. Interest in yachting and speed under sail led to lighter but strongly built and carefully designed timber structures. Even 100-year-old yachts, if properly designed, built and cared for, can still be serviceable.
Carvel has always been the most common form of wooden construction. Generally, a skeleton of steam-bent oak is formed to support planks from stem to stern. These are made of light wood in small boats and harder woods, such as elm, in larger craft. The seams between planks are packed with caulking to make the structure watertight.
Clinker/lapstrake construction, common for small boats in the past, is a method where relatively thin, shaped planks overlap each other at the seam. Mechanical fasteners (often copper rivets) join the plank edges, both to seal against leaks and to secure the shell to internal stiffening pieces.
A smoother finish can be achieved by using a moulded wood construction, which involves the fabrication of a single glued-ply unit for the entire hull.
Wooden boatbuilding has had something of a revival in recent years with an increasing number of people rediscovering the joys of more traditional craft. Complete with rigs derived from the working boats of times past, original construction techniques are being enhanced with the use of modern materials, such as epoxy resins, to increase strength and, perhaps most importantly, reduce maintenance while retaining good looks.
The choice of good building materials and a close fit between members are essential to the durability of yachts. Quality construction will go a long way in keeping out water and preventing rot.
Metal boat construction
The strength and durability of metal construction are appealing, particularly for larger yachts. Except for small craft, the traditional riveted connections for steel or aluminium have given way to welded hulls.
Two types of hull framing are possible. Transverse framing involves curved, angled or T-section stiffeners inside the hull in the same pattern as the conventional framing of a traditional wooden hull. Longitudinal framing runs fore-and-aft, itself supported by bulkheads.
Welding is used initially to tack shaped and curved hull plates to the framing grid and to position plate edges to each other. Welding passes are then made to fill all butts and seams, for hull strength and water-tightness. Further selective welds are made to ensure satisfactory connection of the hull plating to framing and stiffeners.
During welding, shrinkage of the weld metal as it cools is a critical issue for the ultimate shape. Therefore, a proper welding sequence, from port to starboard and deck to keel, over the plating must be followed to prevent distortion of the yacht's shape from the desired geometry and to prevent the building up of internal stresses, which may limit the external load-carrying ability of the hull structure.
Skillful lofting - the full-sized drawing out of hull-shape lines, accurate forming of frames and set-up - plus a proper welding sequence, can achieve an accurate, reasonably smooth hull surface. Nevertheless, for a proper yacht-quality hull surface, a layer of fairing compound is required over the metal plating. After a priming coat to inhibit corrosion and ensure proper bonding, the filler material is trowelled on and finally hand-sanded to the desired accuracy and smoothness using long, flexible sanding planks. Conventional or sprayed polyurethane paint coating finishes the job.
boatpartsdatabase.com has lots of resources for the boating trade and public alike.
The web is a vast source of information. Boatpartsdatabase collects the leisure marine industry into one huge database of contacts. Priors Boatyard with years of experience in traditional and classic wooden boat construction is just one example.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Construction of Fibre Glass Yacth


What's fibreglass made out of?
For the purposes of this article it is beneficial to understand a few basic facts concerning how fibreglass boats are constructed, their typical strengths and weaknesses and most importantly what are the visible signs that manifest themselves to the owner, such as stress cracks, de-lamination, osmosis and so forth.
How does it cure?
Briefly, most polyester resins are made up with glycol, organic acid and reactive diluents (styrene being one). When the catalyst is added, [MEKP usually] a chain reaction is initiated. The mixture forms a series of "cross-linking" reactions, which allows the styrene to create "bridges" which links together all the chemicals. The chain reactions run faster and faster until the glycol/acid chains begin to gel into a solid mass.
Eventually, all these "cross-linked" bridges form a solid plastic mass holding the fibreglass cloth (or matrix) firmly in place. Heat is given off in this reaction as the chemicals cross-link together (Exothermic Reaction). Amazing isn't it?
Basic Construction
Fibreglass boat hulls are generally composed of several laminations (or layers) of glass fibre cloths, impregnated with polyester, vinylester or epoxy resin. This is usually done by building a "female" mould and creating the fibreglass hull within by a series of subsequent stages:
1. The "female" mould is built to the required hull shape.
2. A waxy release agent is applied to the mould surface.
3. A "gel coat", which contains pigment (colour) of polyester resin, is first applied to the mould (10-25 mls thick). This provides the smooth coloured finish to the hull.
4. The "gel coat" is then backed by a thinner fibreglass cloth then several layers of heavier cloths are added to it to form the basic hull.
The hull is then usually re-inforced with more layers of glass and resin onto areas that are under stress and the whole hull sealed with a final layer of clear resin. The rest of the internal fittings such as roof, decks, bulkheads and keel are added when the finished hull is released from the mould. (This does not always apply! Different builders vary this).
Wooden components
Often in fibreglass hulls, wooden components have been used to reinforce areas, such as galleys and so on. Often, the wood is subject to water exposure and swells, eventually causing rot and decomposition.
LAMINATED CORES
Many modern boats have been constructed using internal cores together with resins. These can be polyurethane foam, end grain balsa cores and many lightweight racing hulls are using various lightweight "honeycomb pattern" materials.
These materials decrease the weight of the hull, often with very little strength loss. Also, the use of "closed cell" foam cores combined with epoxy resins has safe guarded many of these "composite constructions" from early failures but all must be subject to high quality and standards, especially where deck installations and fittings are concerned, due to repeated high loading.
UNDERWATER
Just because the hull is underwater does not necessarily mean it will degrade any faster but in the case of poor maintenance, hidden factors may be at work. Lack of anti-fouling procedures allows marine growths to proliferate. Barnacles are a sure-fire gel coat killer if they are allowed to remain undisturbed at work!
Naturally, a weed covered hull will hide the dreaded "osmosis blisters and underwater metal fittings will be subject to damage by galvanic electrical corrosion if the right conditions exist. Rudders and props, shafts too, are often overlooked when a hurried slipping takes place, usually for a quick anti-foul.
The dreaded monsters
A rudder repair I did recently involved complete decimation of the soft inner core by the dreaded 'teredo" worm. The rudder was sheathed in fibreglass and the worm had entered via a pinprick and chewed the living hell out of the core! Take nothing for granted!
A word of warning!
If you are contemplating the purchase of an older style fibreglass yacht, use a qualified marine surveyor. They, unlike you are fully trained and experienced to spot any areas that are defective or likely to cause trouble in the near future.
If you skimp on these dollars, you've only got yourself to blame!
Glassfibre
There are many and varied forms of glassfibre cloths available from the simple "chopped strand mat" to the more exotic (and more expensive) Kevlar Aramids and Carbon Fibres. All these fibres offer different characteristics such as stiffness, strength and can be combined in use. Examples of these cloths are woven cloth; chopped strand mat (CSM) uni-directional, bi- and tri-axial stitched cloths. E-glass is probably the most commonly used for general repair work.
How does it work?
Most of us are familiar with the way basic glass fibre and resins work. Separately, the glass cloth is soft, pliable and can be formed to almost any shape. The polyester resin (or any other, for that matter) is a clear sticky liquid that once mixed with the catalyst, (peroxide catalyst, usually MEKP) creates heat (an exothermic reaction) and eventually sets solid. Individually, the uses of these tow components are limited but when used together form a formidable alliance and produce a fibre re-inforced plastic (FRP).
How does it do this?
This incredible physical partnership enables huge stressed and loads to be transferred through the "cured" plastic and allow shells of immense load-bearing capacity to be constructed, i.e. boat hulls.
Limitations
Sadly, there is no such thing as a free lunch and although "fibreglass boats" have heralded a huge revolution of long lasting boat constructions, time has shown that fibreglass boats are not absolutely maintenance free. With years of use, boat hulls incur much wear and tear in the form of bending, flexing, fatigue, sudden impacts etc. The fatigue cycle can cause breakdown in the cross-linked "constructional chains" of the hull causing weakness, cracking and de-lamination of the glass impregnated cloths from the internal components.
The Chemical Equation
In addition to the physical deterioration of the glass/resin bond due to those mentioned, there are also some interesting chemical reactions, which conspire to cause breakdowns of the once solid "chains of strength". Often, a hull has been made in adverse conditions such as high humidity and if the fibreglass cloth has been subject to excessive damp, water contained therein will react to the polyester resin/glass mix to create a third unwanted "partner".
This takes the form of a yellowish, highly acidic mixture which then attacks its own environment and seriously weakens the chemical "building blocks" of the resin and glass. This causes a downward spiraling chain of destruction that will spell disaster for the hull strength in time.
How can you tell?
This chemical and physical deterioration manifest itself in many and varied ways. High load stress areas, which are subject to high sudden impact loads such as handrails, stanchions, cleats etc, develop fine hairline cracks around the base. These, in turn, allow the ingress of external water. The pattern of destruction then is slowly but surely allowed to increase.
Blisters
Gel coat blisters can take the form of small "pimples" or bubbles. There may be one or two or even dozens. Often, when pricked, a smelly yellow acid substance will be found lurking within. This phenomenon is also called "osmosis". Caution: Do not allow this substance to get near your eyes! Wear goggles!
Hardspots
A "hardspot" in the hull due to a stressed bulkhead or poor furniture installation can cause a "hardspot" that is visible in the form of a hard "line" in the hull. Often the gel-coat may be finely cracked (star cracks) around the area.
De-lamination
In my opinion, this is the possibly worst scenario. Water has freely been absorbed by one or more of the previously described methods and the damage has increased by such a substantial amount that the glass cloth has completely separated from the resin and the area totally compromised. This can happen in areas that were originally starved of resin during construction, or even areas that have been 'squashed" by over zealous tightening of through-deck bolts. These areas will be soft to touch or will visibly flex when pushed and may be swollen with internal water.
Other areas to watch out for:
DECK HATCHES - These are subject to sudden, cyclic loads. Stress cracking followed by complete failure can occur.
MAST/DECK FITTINGS - Cracks, warping, discoloration of gel-coat around the area (watch for chain plate areas).
WINCHES, HAWSE PIPES - check for hairline cracks.
POP RIVETED AREAS - check for leaks and squashing.
FADING - Unfortunately, we have in our part of the world, some of the most intense Ultra-violet activity to be found anywhere and fibreglass pigmentation is extremely susceptible to it. Fading, especially of darker colors, is the result and although polishing can help, often the only solution is a complete repaint using two-pack or polyurethane paint systems.
The Final Word
Having been half scared to death by the previous chapters; common sense must now prevail. What has been written may only partly occur or maybe never. Much depends on the age, location and how your boat has been built and maintained. It is sheer folly to have never lifted a finger as far as maintenance goes and to expect your boat to be perfect. Amongst all the other marvels of modern day technology, sadly, we haven't invented the self -repairing boat!
A regular maintenance schedule is strongly recommended and most, if not all, repairs can be effectively done by an average handyman provided you have obtained the correct instructional techniques. There is a wealth of information out there, much of it available from your glass and resin suppliers. So, turn off that telly and pick up that phone! Once again I stress, if you are in doubt about the condition of your own boat or one that you intend to purchase, don't guess, get yourself a Marine surveyor and let them do all the investigating, Its worth it, I can assure you!
If you enjoyed this article you can find many more about boat construction and building your own boat if you visit the website that can be found in the resource box below.

About the Author :
Terry Buddell is a freelance journalist and a Marine surveyor, boat designer and shipwright.
He lives on board his yacht "The Nicky J Miller' that he built himself on The Gold Coast Australia and has sailed his yacht up the East Coast to the beautiful Whitsunday Islands. He is currently resident in Gladstone Queensland where he is building another boat for his collection of plans for sale on the internet. In his spare time (what spare time?) Terry has a fully informative website with many articles about boating and boat building and many more articles may be found at http://www.dolphinboatplans.com

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic?


At an age where conventional glass and plastic may soon be a thing of the past, attention has been shifted to the use of fibre glass reinforced plastic (FRP) or sometimes known as glass reinforced plastic. Basically FRP is a fiber reinforced polymer made from a plastic matrix which is reinforced by fine glass fibers. The plastic matrix can be either epoxy (a thermosetting plastic) or thermoplastic. FRP is very light and an extremely strong robust material and its capabilities have often been compared to those of carbon fiber. Although it is somewhat less stiff compared to carbon fiber, it is also far less brittle and the raw materials are considerably cheaper. FRP is more favored compared to conventional metal primarily due to its weight and bulk strength, and also its shape shifting capabilities during the moulding process. FRP is widely used to construct the main framework for boats, tanks, vessels, pipes and also ducts.
FRP grating is produced using a combination of fibre glass reinforcements and other thermosetting resins. This composite material has been touted as a material for the future, replacing conventional materials such as alloys and metals. FRP grating does not corrode like conventional steel gratings and thus are a perfect candidate for corrosive environments. This is what makes FRP grating stand out amongst other composite materials. FRP grating also possesses a high strength to weight ratio and therefore they are generally resistant to impacts. Besides that, they have a long service life span and require little or no maintenance.
Due to its resistance against corrosion, FRP has been used to construct vessels and tanks to house reactive and corrosive chemicals. Like any other compound, FRP also undergoes an oxidation process, where the surface becomes dull and the color fades. FRP scrubbers are generally used to scrub fluids off the surface to prevent oxidation. In air pollution control technology, there are generally 3 main types of FRP scrubbers. Dry media scrubbers involve a dry, solid media suspended in the middle of the tank to control the concentration of a pollutant in the incoming gas via absorption and adsorption. Wet media scrubbers douse the polluted fluids with a scrubbing concentrate. Due to more contact with the content, these vessels must be designed with more stringent criteria. Biological scrubbers are structurally similar to wet media scrubbers. This media is designed to encourage bacteria growth by spraying the vessel through with water filled with nutrients to encourage bacteria to grow. With biological scrubbers, it is actually the bacteria which scrub the pollutants. One general limitation of FRP vessels and scrubbers would be its temperature limits. FRP is not designed to withstand high temperatures and the limit depends on the resin used to manufacture the composite.
FRP is also used as raw materials to construct pipes and ducts due to its corrosive resistant traits. These pipes and ducts usually transport corrosive substances, therefore using FRP grating would a wise choice. FRP is also easy to form into different shapes during its moulding process, thus proving to be a perfect material candidate for pipes and ducts. FRP also does not conduct electricity compared to alloys and metals. The strength to weight ratio of FRP also makes it a wiser alternative for pipes and ducts which sometimes go through significant loads. However, due to its brittle nature, FRP can only withstand a certain amount of tensile stress before breaking.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Glass Reinforced Plastic Provides Unbeatable Protection and Durability


In many industrial and commercial industries, such as the gas and electricity sector, where sensitive and valuable equipment is outside or needs protection, there needs to be a durable and safe solution for protecting this equipment. Glass Reinforced Plastic or GRP is a recognised, tried and tested material used by a variety of utility companies for housing gas, water, electricity and telecoms equipment.
GRP is a fibre reinforced polymer. It is made up of plastic reinforced by fine fibres of glass. It is therefore also commonly referred to as fibreglass. It is a particularly strong material that can withstand tension and compression, yet it is surprisingly lightweight. It is also weather resistant so is ideal for outdoor usage. This adaptable polymer can be made into a variety of structures including buildings, kiosks, cabinets, enclosures, and covers. Specific applications include gas meter boxes, odour control covers and septic tanks for the sewerage industry.
As well as being used widely in the utility industries to house all types of equipment, there are many other examples of uses for the material. For instance glass reinforced plastic structures have been used in recent times to protect and conceal important equipment such as electrical transformers, sub-stations, switchgear and motor control centres for major wind turbine projects. It is also often used by the construction industry, railway industry and by petro-chemical companies.
GRP is very adaptable and can be easily moulded to particular design specifications and finishes. For instance it can be produced in a variety of colours and finished with different textures. A heavy-duty 'textured' finished is particularly good for outdoor buildings and housings as it won't scratch, fade or be affected by UV light. The durability of this material also makes it good for long-term industrial usage, with many buildings expected to last for 30 years or more.
It can also be made to blend in to the environment. Natural colours such as greens and browns can be used and the adaptable material can even be moulded to simulate tile or slate roofs, brick and stone. This helps to achieve the look of a real building in an environmentally sensitive area. So as well as blending in seamlessly with the natural environment, it is the ideal material to complement existing structures and brickwork.
Glass-reinforced plastic can also be manufactured to offer premium levels of safety and protection. For instance it can be textured and moulded to prevent vandalism. For certain installations, products made from this material must have undergone fire and explosion tests. This ensures that specialist fire rated kiosks and explosion relief kiosks are provided when needed.
Being so adaptable, it is not just used for housing valuable equipment and products. The material is also used to make fences and flooring, among other things. It is particularly good for anti-slip flooring as it is hard-wearing and provides a good grip. As a fencing material it is corrosion resistant and lightweight, yet extremely tough.
In today's world it is surprising to find how many products are made from the versatile glass reinforced plastic. Many providers can design, make and install a variety of GRP housings that can provide long-term protection and insulation for equipment - with minimal intrusion on the environment. Its strength and adaptability is also used to create lightweight and durable products designed to make a difference in everyday life.

About the Author :
Kingsley Plastics are one of the UK's leading providers of glass-reinforced plastic products. Offering a variety of GRP housings, kiosks, enclosures and buildings; they provide equipment to many leading industrial and commercial businesses. With many years experience of designing, manufacturing and installing such fibreglass products, they have earned a reputation for the unbeatable quality and value of their glass reinforced plastic equipment. For more information visit http://kingsleyplastics.co.uk/