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Marine Hardware Professionals Share the Benefits of Building Your Boat With Carbon Fiber

Raritan Engineering Company your marine hardware specialists would like to share with you these topics we thought would be of interest to you this month regarding how carbon fiber takes boat building to the next level.

Your marine hardware professionals know that like the word stealth, carbon fiber has crept into our modern language, and you’ll find its distinctive black diamond pattern on everything from clipboards to refrigerators.

Your marine hardware catalog experts understand that fiberglass was once heralded as the miracle material for boats, and it did, indeed, take a bite out of wooden-boat construction. Though it revolutionized boat construction, it didn’t quite prove to be the no-maintenance material originally promised (laughter in the wings), but it was a major step forward.

Well, the absolute definitive answer is yes — and no. Carbon fiber has some wonderful properties, but it also brings higher costs and a few downsides.

In the mold, Carbon Marine replaces typical fiberglass matting with woven carbon filaments.

The Carbon Upsides

Your marine hardware stores specialists know that fiberglass is a composite made from strands of glass that are woven into fabrics and reinforced with resin to create hulls and decks. Carbon fiber simply replaces those glass strands with filaments of carbon.

Why carbon fiber? This is a three-word answer: lighter, stronger, stiffer. These are the qualities that have endeared carbon fiber to the aerospace, automotive and military industries. Here’s a breakdown of those attributes.

Lighter: In simple terms, if you can build an object in carbon fiber — whether a boat, car or airplane — that is lighter than a similar object in fiberglass, you’ll get more speed and better fuel efficiency.

Strength

Carbon fiber has a strength-to-weight ratio about twice that of typical fiberglass.

Stronger: Carbon fiber is stronger than fiberglass, so it adds extra strength to the equation, which is why the driver of the first McLaren carbon-fiber Formula One race car walked away from a major crash when the car’s surrounding “tub” saved him.

If you build a boat that is lighter with equal strength, you’ll spend less time at the gas dock and more time fishing or doing whatever it is you like to do while boating.

Stiffness

Carbon fiber has a stiffness about six times that of E-glass, so it won’t flex or warp.

Stiffer: Stiffness is the last trait of carbon fiber, which has a modulus of stiffness about six times that of E-glass, an upgraded fiberglass used in boatbuilding.

Taco Marine launched a new line of carbon-fiber sport-fishing outriggers, which promptly won an Innovation Award at the 2016 Miami International Boat Show. Product development manager Jose Chao notes there was a learning process to take advantage of the material, but he adds: “Carbon fiber outriggers are an easy choice — they’re lighter, stiffer and stronger.

If you build a boat that is lighter with equal strength, you’ll spend less time at the gas dock and more time fishing or doing whatever it is you like to do while boating.

The Downsides

Your marine door hardware professionals understand that every silver lining has a dark cloud, and carbon fiber has a few, the first being higher cost. One manufacturer estimated the price of commercial-grade carbon-fiber composites to range from $5 to $20 per pound, depending on the variables, while fiberglass ran from $1.50 to $3.

Marine Hardware Experts Continues Discussion of Cost Effectiveness

You can find more information as well as get assistance on marine water heaters

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and on how carbon fiber takes boat building to the next level at Raritan Engineering.

Do you need that extra cost? For a Formula One car, speed is measured in ounces saved, so it clearly makes sense — for a boat to take your family on an afternoon outing, perhaps not so much.

Your marine water heater analysts know that carbon fiber is also fairly inflexible, which makes it unsuitable for products that need to flex such as skis and helicopter blades. Baseball bats and boat bottoms are another thing, however, and you want these to be rigid.

It’s an issue also faced with steel yachts, so it’s easily manageable, and the American Boat and Yacht Council addresses carbon fiber in a technical bulletin (E-11) that essentially says to insulate anything that has power coming or going.

Communication is another thing. While fiberglass is transparent to wireless signals, carbon fiber (like steel and aluminum) can reduce a Wi-Fi signal by up to 95 percent, according to Raymarine, which suggests taking care to separate electronics from carbon fiber by at least 4 inches to eliminate any ground effect that would inhibit the signals.

So there you have a look at carbon fiber. With it, you’ll get a boat that is faster, more economical, stiffer and lighter, plus has a better cruising range.

High Points

*Drop-dead gorgeous from the carbon fiber visible in the hull and console, plus the silver shavings in the gelcoat that added sparkle.

*Grab rails are everywhere for safety, along with padded coamings, bolstered seats and SeaDek flooring for comfort underfoot.

*Incredibly fuel-efficient — even flat out, it gets better than 1 mpg.

*Super-strong Armstrong outboard bracket is perfectly braced on the transom.

Low Points

*Trim tabs are too high for good “bite.” (The builder is moving them.)

*Expensive, although much of the price is the $100,000 Seven Marine outboard.

Cars, Planes and Boats

Carbon fiber is not new to performance vehicles. Check out some of its uses in other forms of exotic transportation.

Cars: Carbon fiber has been used in exotic cars since 1981 when McLaren built the first carbon-fiber Formula One racer that rendered the competition obsolete.

Planes: Boeing bet its company on carbon fiber when it built the 787 Dreamliner that uses 77,000 pounds in the fuselage and tail.

Boats: When the American Oracle team won the America’s Cup in San Francisco, it introduced the sailing world to carbon fiber.

So don’t forget these helpful pointers when deciding if you want to build your next boat out of carbon fiber. 1) Carbon fiber is lighter, stronger and stiffer;  2) carbon fiber is not cheap;  and 3) carbon fiber isn’t new and is being used everywhere.

Raritan Engineering always has more information on marine hardware, marine water heaters, boat water heaters and on how carbon fiber is taking boat building to the next level.

via Carbon Fiber Boatbuilding