February 1, 2010

blogger - Sandwich Infusion?

My above title obviously relates to sandwich core construction, along with vacuum infusion method to build boats. Sandwich construction has been part of fiberglass boat building since it was brought to the masses in the sixties. Its first use was with marine ply reinforcements mostly in the stern. Later on came balsa used for the decks topsides first, on hull sides later and some also applying it to the bottoms. Then came foam used mostly on decks and super structure, and in the last decade plus we have the modern PVC closed cell foams which can be used in all parts of a boats construction. Vacuum infusion invented officially in early nineties is an innovative way of applying resin which helps use less material, reduces styrene pollutants in the air, and save more resin. While this today is voluntary do not be surprised that when the economy pulls out of the recent down turn for this to be made legal in developed countries. Mostly due to environmental issue foremost, with boat builders building in these places having to make the change to infusion glass resin method.
The quality and advantages of PVC coring and infused methods are known but seeing the hull failures that have happened in recent times the error compared to the old way of building seems also much more dangerous. The yacht building industry and those who certify it should also make certain that each construction way is controlled to the limits of use, and that the buyer can have a safe passage with his boat, especially when this relates to offshore sea usage like CE B or A standards. Modern cores and vacuum infusion building saves weight and give similar strength to the old method but it is also seems to be less fool proof during its building stages and requires more professional highly rated trained workers. Those who certify the industry should make sure that this is happening at the factories and yard where boats are built. Or else if these hull failures continue to spring up we can say that the building standards for leisure boats are actually non existent, and are just make up to amuse the new inexperienced boatman. Not a good sign for an industry where fun and peace of mind have to be together.