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Adhesives optimise yacht manufacturing process

Adhesives optimise yacht manufacturing process Composite materials from Huntsman Advanced Materials have been used by Pauger Carbon Composites to construct an innovative 50 foot long twin-mast catamaran called the Fifty-Fifty. Pauger Carbon Composites, a Hungarian manufacturer of composite yachts and masts, designed and built the catamaran in time for this year's Blue Ribbon Regatta on Lake Balaton in Hungary. The design objectives were to achieve the best power-to-weight ratio possible in constructing a light weight vessel capable of achieving high speeds in long distance sailing.

Following consultation with Huntsman Advanced Materials' Hungarian distributor Farix, Pauger Carbon selected Huntsman's composite resin and composite bonding systems to reinforce and complete the yacht's composite structure. The materials were chosen for their easy processing capabilities, thermal endurance, high quality finish and all importantly, the ability to facilitate the creation of robust, lightweight parts.

The composite hulls have been produced using a hot curing system for infusion (Araldite LY 1564, Aradur 2954) which combines low viscosity with a long pot life and excellent mechanical, dynamic and thermal properties. Because this system is formulated to provide a high Tg (better than 140°C), it is particularly well suited to yachts, such as the Fifty-Fifty, which are finished in dark colours, including black or dark blue.

Finding a suitable prepreg resin system for Carbon Pauger's self-developed prepreg machine was challenging. While many systems proved incompatible, the GL certified Araldite prepreg system (Araldite LY 1556, Aradur 1571, Accelerator 1573,/ Hardener XB 3403) recommended by Farix met all of Pauger's requirements, offering an efficient processing solution with its easy chemical B-staging to create a number of the yacht's components, including the mast.

For composite structures based on epoxy matrices, the evaluation of epoxy-based adhesives is important for achieving good compatibility, bond stability and higher durability under harsh conditions. To achieve the high levels of component endurance required to compete in long distance sailing, Pauger Carbon used a high performance Araldite composite bonder (Araldite AW4859 with Hardener HW4859 allows lap-shear levels higher than 35MPa, retaining more than 12MPa between 100 and 120°C) to complete parts on the yacht, including the mast track.

"In putting the two masts side by side, we embraced a completely new and innovative design concept with the objective of implementing high forestay strength which required a brand new solution for fixing the double masts.  Therefore selection of the right materials was of the utmost importance," says Denes Paulovits, owner and managing director of Pauger Carbon Composites. "The chosen Araldite systems played a significant role in helping to optimise the manufacturing process while enabling the realisation of a full-carbon, high-tech multihull and innovative rig that has already proven itself in the fast and extremely competitive arena of long-distance sailing,"

Progress through the development and construction stages was rapid and the Fifty-Fifty was on the water within a 15 week period. As well as winning this year's Lake Balaton Regatta in the Fifty-Fifty, the Wild Joe Sailing Team who steered the yacht to success also broke the race's long-standing speed record by completing the 150km course in 10 hours and 13 minutes. With wind speeds of ten knots the Fifty-Fifty achieved speeds of 24 knots.
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