Featured in Reinforced Plastics

George Marsh

Using high performance fibres that are already impregnated with resin is, say the proponents of prepregs, a sure way of building consistent quality into fibre reinforced plastic (FRP) products. Aircraft builders became convinced some time ago, but constructors of marine craft have followed suit as customers for premium yachts and some commercial craft seek top performance with structures that are exceptionally light, stiff and strong.

In the latest high-tech elaboration, Hall's single-piece seamless mast construction method has been combined with carbon nanotube technology developed by the Zyvex Performance Materials. Zyvex’s Arovex material is produced by mixing carbon nanotubes into the resin which is then combined with carbon fibres to create a prepreg. Fortifying the resin with nanotubes enhances the strength of the finished product without the need for extra reinforcing fibres or the expense of higher-modulus carbon. The new J/111 sailboat from J/Boats is an early platform for the Hall/Zyvex carbon nanotube mast technology.