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Wayne C. Tucker and Thomas Juska

42.1 INTRODUCTION resins, but their superior resistance to hydrol-

Use of composites in marine applications is ysis and blistering aacquemet and LaGrange,
widespread. The two major advantages of fiber 1988) makes isophthalic polyester a better
reinforced dastics over metals are resistance to choice for applications requiring long term
the marine environment, particularly the elim- exposure to water.
ination of galvanic corrosion and the ease of Use of vinyl esters is becoming more com-
tailoring structures, which are fabricated by mon. Although they are more expensive than
molding processes. In addition, composites polyesters, vinyl ester laminates generally
have high strength-to-weightratios. have better properties. In addition, vinyl esters
This chapter is an overview of the materials have excellent resistance to matrix hydrolysis.
and fabrication processes used in marine appli- Also available are mixtures of vinyl ester and
cations of composites. More comprehensive polyester, which offer some of the benefits of
studies of the use of composites in marine con- vinyl ester but at intermediate cost.
struction have recently been published (Smith, Epoxy laminating resins, rarely used in
1990;Greene, 1990; Davies and Lemoine, 1992). marine applications due to cost and the need
for elevated temperature cure, are used by
some boat builders in high performance one-
42.2 MATERIALS off racing craft and some production boats.
Among the advantages of epoxy are extended
42.2.1 RESINS out-time compared to room temperature cur-
Resins used in marine applications generally ing resins and low volatile organic content.
cure at room temperature, both for the low The material form is wet epoxy prepreg
fabrication costs and because elevated temper- (sometimes referred to as a wet-preg to distin-
ature performance is not required. guish it from conventional prepreg) made by
General purpose polyester is the most com- the boat builder (Gougeon, 1992). Fabrication
mon laminating resin. These materials, based is normally by vacuum bag, room temperature
on orthophthalic acid (phthalic anhydride), cure followed by oven post-cure at about 50°C
are the least expensive, but long term immer- (122°F).
sion without a barrier coat will probably result
in blistering (Burrell, Herzog and McCabe, 42.2.2 REINFORCEMENTS
1987). Polyesters based on isophthalic acid are
slightly more expensive than general purpose E-glass fabric is the primary reinforcement in
marine construction, of which there are numer-
ous forms. There are two basic styles: woven
Handbook of Composites. Edited by S.T. Peters. Published and knitted. Woven fabrics are further subdi-
in 1998 by Chapman & Hall, London. ISBN 0 412 54020 7 vided into woven roving and woven yarn.
Materials 917

Woven roving are the most common fabrics Nguyen, 1992).Their use is limited because of
due to their low cost. They are available in a cost and also because they cannot bear much
variety of weights and weave patterns, but a load in compression.
800 g/m2 (24 oz/yd2) plain weave is probably
the most frequently used. In small boat con-
42.2.3 CORES
struction, the fabric is usually mat-backed, in
which a chopped strand mat has been stitched Linear PVC foam is used extensively in boat
or powder bound to one side of the fabric. hulls, at a density of 80 kg/m3 (5 lb/ft3). The
Woven yarn, also called textile fabric or resilience of the material allows hull deforma-
cloth, is more expensive and therefore used tion during impact with no skin/core
infrequently. These materials are finer in tex- debonding, skin damage or core shear failures.
ture than woven rovings and are used as Crosslinked PVC foam is used in decks, bulk-
surfacing plys, particularly in tooling. heads and cabins because it has better
Knitted glass fabrics are becoming more structural properties and will not creep at the
common. The rovings are stitched together, higher topside service temperatures. It is
which keeps the strands relatively parallel (no available in a wide range of densities, but is
crimp as in weaves) and stabilizes the fabric usually used at 80 and 100 kg/m3 (288 and
against distortion during handling. The orien- 3601b/yd3). Both types of PVC foam are
tations of the separate layers and the number closed cell, absorb very little water and are
of separate layers, which compose knitted fab- moderately priced.
rics can be varied, although a 2-ply 0/90 is End grain balsa, also widely used as the
most common. Knitted fabrics are currently core in boat sandwich structures, is inexpen-
available up to 2500 g/m2 (72 oz/yd2). sive and has excellent structural properties.
Chopped strand mat is most commonly Under some circumstances, however, balsa
used where a resin-rich layer is desired, such as can rot. If skin/core debonding occurs and
between the core and fabric in sandwich struc- water is allowed to penetrate this interface, the
tures. Usually the first ply next to the gel coat wood will eventually degrade. It has been
is a layer of mat, which reduces print-through shown, however, that balsa will provide a long
of the reinforcement as well as providing addi- marine service life with proper maintenance
tional protection from water permeation. (Baltek Corporation, 1986).
S-2 glass is about six times the cost of E- Composite core is also available. The mate-
glass, so it is rarely used in marine structural rial is made in two forms, either sinusoidal
applications. S-2 made in the G filament is nested-wave, or in a closed cell configuration
sized for epoxy and when made with the K where planar webs alternate with sinusoidal
filament is sized for polyesters and vinyl webs (Plunkett et aI., 1992).This type of core is
esters. essentially a collection of sine wave stiffeners
Carbon fiber is also rarely used because of fused to skins with a laminating resin. It
cost. America’s Cup racing sailboats use car- appears to have great potential for marine and
bon throughout the boat and some racing civil engineering structures and has in fact
powerboats use carbon as well. Carbon has an been used to make about 200 prototypes,
additional problem in that it can corrode met- including deckhouses, storage tanks, build-
als in contact with it in the presence of water ings and parabolic solar energy concentrators.
(Tucker, Brown and Russell, 1990; Aylor and
Murray, 1992). 42.2.4 SKIN/CORE BONDING
Polymeric fibers, namely Kevlar and
Spectra, are sometimes used in marine appli- A good bond between skin and core is critical
cations where weight is critical (Sloan and to the performance of sandwich structures. In
918 Marine applications

boat building it is general practice to use

vacuum bag pressure to achieve the necessary
quality. There are two basic methods: one is to
use a paste adhesive between skin and core
and the other is to use the laminating resin as
the adhesive.
Paste adhesives for a polyester or vinyl ester
laminate are filled polyesters. The adhesive is
catalyzed and troweled onto the surface of pre-
cured laminate (normally the outer skin) and
the foam core is sprayed with catalyzed resin
(Johannsen, 1990). The core is then bedded into
the paste, the vacuum bag is positioned and
the assembly is allowed to cure at room tem-
perature. The core either has holes to allow air Fig. 42.1 Boat hull blisters. (Courtesy of Dr. Tom
to escape, or contour core is used. In both cases, Rockett, University of Rhode Island.)
observation of the paste seeping through the
spaces is evidence for a successful bonding
operation. The inner skin is laminated directly
3. More water is drawn into the laminate
onto the surface of the core, with the first ply
through osmosis, creating a localized pres-
normally a chopped strand mat.
sure. The solution in the osmotic center
Some sandwich structures are made by
hydrolyzes the resin, resulting in an
bonding the core with a resin rich layer. In this
increase in water-soluble materials, which
method, a wet-out ply of chopped strand mat
then draw more water into the laminate
is applied to the outer skin and used as a bed-
and increase the pressure.
ding for the core. In a recently discovered
variation of this approach, which appears to There are materials solutions to the blistering
offer some advantages, a ply of polyester mat problem of orthophthalic polyester laminates.
is used to bed the core (Lewit, 1990). One is to coat the hull below the waterline
with an epoxy paint formulated to reduce
water penetration (Interlux, 1993). Another is
42.3 ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS to use a permeation barrier between gelcoat
and laminate, as mentioned previously. A
42.3.1 BLISTERING more expensive solution to blistering is to
change to a vinyl ester laminating resin. Use of
Blistering can occur in gel coated marine lam-
isophthalic polyesters is another alternative,
inates (Fig. 42.1). The causes are complex and
which offers a compromise between cost and
blisters may occur due to the selection of mate-
resistance to hydrolysis.
rials or due to the process used in fabrication
Blistering of carbon fiber reinforced plastics
or both. The formation of blisters basically
involves three steps (Marino, Rockett and
(CFRP) in seawater can occur for another rea-
son. When galvanically coupled to a metal
Rose, 1985):
fitting, the CFRP becomes cathodic. The result-
1. Water permeates into the laminate. ing electro-chemical reaction produces
2. Water-soluble components in the resin are hydroxyl ions near the carbon fibers. To bal-
dissolved in this water and are concen- ance the charge, sodium ions are drawn in.
trated in cracks or voids in the laminate, The eventual result is blisters with high alka-
creating an osmotic center. linity (Tucker, 1991; Miriyala et al., 1993).
Fabrication 919
42.3.2 MICROBIAL DEGRADATION production rates. These machines perform
All engineering materials become colonized three important functions: they wet out the
by microorganisms within hours after expo- fabric, meter the resin and place the wet out
sure in natural waters (Little and Wagner, fabric via an overhead crane or gantry
1986). Microorganisms grow and produce a (Venus-Gusmer, 1989). Laminators must still
viscoelastic layer or biofilm. The environment roll out the fabric after it is placed to remove
at the interface is radically different from the air. Resin contents are reduced to about 50
bulk medium in terms of pH, dissolved oxy- wt %.
gen and organic and inorganic species (Little et Portable impregnators are also occasionally
ai., 1991).In addition to biofouling, the mater- used. Some high performance racing sailboats
ial properties may be adversely affected. are laminated with wet epoxy prepreg made
Epoxy and nylon coating on steel can be by the fabricator.
breached by mixed cultures of marine bacteria
(Jones, Walsh and Mansfield, 1991). Sulfate 42.4.3 RESIN TRANSFER MOLDING
reducing bacteria (SRB) degrade marine
caulks and polymeric coatings (Jones, Walsh Vacuum assisted resin transfer molding
and Mansfield 1991; Jones et ai., 1992a,b). (VARTM)has been shown to have great poten-
Organic surfactants on S-2 glass fibers have tial for the fabrication of ship hulls and
reportedly been attacked in the presence of secondary structures. The Naval Surface
SRB as well (Tucker et al., 1993). Warfare Center, Carderock Division, has had
Microorganisms can be a threat to material several prototype structures made with a
performance in the marine environment. VARTM method known as SCRIMP (Seemann,
1989), including deckhouse modules, masts
and a Swimmer Delivery Vehicle (NSWC
42.4 FABRICATION Carderock Division, 1993). The advantages of
VARTM over hand lay-up are that very low
42.4.1 HAND LAY-UP resin contents are achieved (30-35 wt YO), the
process is less labor intensive and styrene
Hand lay-up is the most common fabrication emissions are almost eliminated. Laminate
method in marine construction. Catalyzed mechanical properties of panels made by
resin is first applied to the gel coated mold VARTM show significant strength and stiff-
surface, usually by spraying. A layer of dry ness improvements over panels made by hand
mat or fabric is positioned onto the resin and lay-up (Juska,Mayes and Seemann, 1993).
by pressure of hand-held rollers, resin gradu-
ally soaks through the fabric and most of the
trapped air is forced out. This process is 42.4.4 VACUUM BAG PROCESSING
repeated until the desired number of plys is Vacuum bag processing is used extensively in
attained. The full thickness of the structure is the boat building industry to facilitate bonding
rarely built up all at once, but is usually done of the core onto pre-cured skins, as described
in several lay-up/cure stages. Resin contents earlier. Vacuum bags are rarely used to compact
are normally about 55 wt % and void contents polyester or vinyl ester wet lay-ups because
about 1%. there is little time to place the bag before gela-
tion. Vacuum bag consolidation is used,
however, to laminate wet epoxy resins and
oven-cured prepregs, but the practice is limited
Impregnators are sometimes used in the fabri- to the production of high performance boats
cation of large composite structures to increase such as the America’s Cup racing sailboat.
920 Marine applications

Autoclaves are rarely used in marine con- and can be used as a guide to the properties of
struction, mainly because the process is too typical marine laminates (made by hand lay-
expensive for marine structures. There are a up) with those attainable by alternative
few exceptions, however. Submarine sonar fabrication methods.
bow domes are autoclave cured, as are car- The properties of cored panels are becom-
bon/epoxy sailboat masts. ing increasingly important to the design of
marine structures, particularly boats. Recent
studies have indicated that cored panel prop-
erties as determined with standard beam
Filament winding is very often used to make bending tests should be supplemented by
structures and machinery for marine applica- measuring the response of plate specimens
tions. It is inexpensive, largely automated and subjected to uniform pressure loading (Huss,
low resin contents are achieved. It is most 1990; Reichard, 1992; Gougeon and Bertelsen,
appropriate for parts with a circular cross sec- 1993).
tion, such as shafting, piping and pressure


Materials with a wide variety of fibers, resins, Mine counter measure vessels are among the
resin weight contents and void contents are largest GRP boats fabricated. These military
used in marine construction. Extensive testing vessels are made of non-magnetic material
at NSWC, Carderock Division, has led to a (GRP or wood) to reduce the threat from mag-
database of marine construction materials netic mines. Several foreign Navies have built
made by hand lay-up, VARTM and vacuum composite minehunters, including the Soviet,
bag consolidated prepregs ouska, Ma yes and British, Swedish, Italian, French and
Seemann, 1993; Juska 1993). The values in Australian, usually 4548 m (150-160 ft) long
Table 42.1 were abstracted from this database (Greene, 1990).

Table 42.1 Properties of marine laminates

Fabric Woven Woven Style 7781

resin roving roving epoxy
vinyl ester vinyl ester
Fabrication Hand lay-up VARTM Prepreg
Resin content (wt Yo) 50-60 30-35 35-40
Void content (%) 0.5-1.5 0-0.5 0.54
Compression strength, MPa 172-207 379414 379414
(psi x lo3) (25-30) (55-60) (55-60)
Tensile strength, MPa 172-207 379414 379414
(psi x lo3) (25-30) (55-60) (55-60)
Tensile modulus, GPa 11.7-13.8 21.4-22.8 21.4-22.8
(psi x lo6) (1.7-2.0) (3.1-3.3) (3.1-3.3)
Flexural strength, MPa 276-345 483-552 483-552
(psi x lo3) (40-50) (70-80) (70-80)
Structures 921

The US Navy, whose Mine Counter 42.6.3 LARGE POWER YACHTS

Measure (MCM) ships have a wooden hull Large custom private power yachts, typically
construction, is currently building the MHC- 21-39m (70-130 ft) long but up to 48m
51 class coastal minehunter with GRP (160ft), are made with GRP by several boat
(Hepburn, Magliulo and Wright 1991). The builders. Most of the builders make hulls
Navy selected to modify the Italian Lerici class cored with linear PVC, with decks, bulkheads
design for the MHC-51, which has an unstiff- and superstructures cored with crosslinked
ened single skin hull. The resin is an PVC. The cores are bedded in paste adhesive
isophthalic polyester formulated to have a and vacuum bagged to the outer skin. Blister
long gel time (about four hours). The rein- protection is usually provided by several lay-
forcement for the hull, decks and transverse ers of epoxy paint applied to the gel coat after
bulkheads is DF1400 (1400 g/m2; 40 oz/yd2) the boat is demolded.
composed of spun roving in the fill direction. Westport Shipyard developed the concept
The superstructure is constructed of Rovimat of using the same (female)mold to make sev-
1200, an 800 g/m2 (24 oz/yd2) woven roving eral non-identical boats. They have pulled 35
stitched to a 400 g/mZ (12 oz/yd2) mat. The hulls from a single mold, which they alter in
reinforcement is wet-out and placed with an length and width to accommodate the design.
impregnator. Westport uses an overhead crane impregnator,
which they believe saves 50% in labor over
42.6.2 SMALLBOATS hand lay-up. They laminate with a general
purpose polyester resin and a 800g/m2
Small boats and craft are usually constructed (24 oz/yd2) woven roving (not mat backed).
from GRP and probably dominate the marine Other builders have also adopted the vari-
composites market. There are numerous styles able mold approach. The Christensen Motor
of power and sail boats. In spite of the diver- Yacht Company makes boats by hand lay-up
sity in hull shape and size there are fairly up to 43m (140 ft) long. They prefer knitted
standard fabrication techniques and materials reinforcement (2408) for its handling charac-
used in boat building. A comprehensive teristics and more uniform resin content and
review of the methods and materials used in use vinyl ester in the outer skin. North Coast
Navy craft fabrication and repair has recently Boats has a mold capable of producing boats
been published (Russell, 1992). up to 40 m (131 ft) long. They make boats by
Female molds are more common than male hand lay-up with a relatively heavy knitted
plugs in production boats due to the impor- reinforcement (3205) and a vinyl ester/poly-
tance of unvarying hull shape and ester resin mixture. The Nordlund Boat
appearance. After the mold surface is coated Company laminates with a 600 g/m2
with release agent, it is sprayed with several (18 oz/yd2)knitted reinforcement for the outer
layers of gel coat (usually an isophthalic acid, skin, for reduced print through and woven
neopentyl glycol polyester) until a roving in the inner skins.
0.5-0.76 mm (20-30 mil) wet thickness is Some builders of large yachts do not use a
achieved. The gel coat is allowed to harden variable mold. Admiral Marine specializes in
prior to lamination. The first ply of the lami- one-off female tooling. They used this concept
nate is usually a chopped strand mat to to fabricate a 48 m (160 ft) private motor yacht
reduce print-through of the subsequent layers (by hand lay-up). An E-glass/Kevlar hybrid
of woven or knitted reinforcement. Boats are fabric was used in the decks and cabin.
usually fabricated by hand lay-up, as Jones-Goodell Yachts also make a unique
described earlier. female tool for each boat, producing boats UP
to 33 m (110 ft) long.
922 Marine applications

Delta Marine produces displacement, semi- typical of marine construction, however; since
displacement and planing hulls using a the designs minimize weight and maximize
variety of techniques. The displacement hulls stiffness of structural components, the yachts
are built using a stiffened single skin, where use aerospace materials. For example, the
the semi-displacementhulls in the larger sizes boats built for America3Foundation's success-
utilize a balsa cored sandwich construction in ful defense of the 1992 Americas Cup had
the sides and a stiffened skin bottom. The pri- carbon/epoxy tape in the hull (cored with
mary materials used are a mat backed knitted aluminum honeycomb), frames, keel, mast,
fabric (3205) and a combination of vinyl ester pole and boom, carbon winch drums and
and general purpose polyester laminating shafting and pultruded Kevlar standing rig-
resin. In addition to private motor yachts, ging (Kramers, 1993). The design philosophy
Delta builds commercial fishing vessels and was to keep the weight as low as the IACC
small charter boats. rules allowed, while maximizing stiffness and
being just strong enough to avoid failure. The
processing conditions for the hull are limited
to 1atmosphere pressure (i.e. vacuum bag) at
The America's Cup class yachts use compos- 95°C (203°F))while those for the mast are 3 x
ites more extensively than any other marine lo5 N/m2 (3 atm) and 135°C (275°F).
structure. The materials in the boats are not







ZI:: /
' I


Fig. 42.2 Advanced Unmanned Search System. (Courtesy of Naval Command and Ocean Surveillance
Center, RDT & E Division.)
Structures 923


The potential for composites in pressure hulls The submarine fairwater, or sail, (Fig. 42.3) is
has been demonstrated (Garvey, 1990; Stachiw an excellent example of a large complex com-
and Frame, 1988).Actual use of composites in posite marine structure. A typical fairwater is
these structures has been limited, however. 12m (40 ft) long, 73m (24 ft) tall and com-
One exception is the Advanced Unmanned posed of over 1000 component sections. These
Search System (AUSS), developed and oper- massive structures were retrofitted on numer-
ated by the Naval Command, Control and ous classes of submarines replacing steel
Ocean Surveillance Center, RDT&E Division fairwaters. The composite fairwaters provide
(NRad, 1992). It consists of a vehicle, a control the Navy with lighter weight and non-corro-
van, a maintenance van, a launch and recovery sive properties that steel could not match. The
ramp and tow fish for acoustic communica- construction of submarine fairwaters consists
tions. As shown in Fig. 42.2, the vehicle has a of E-glass/polyester panels and secondary
graphite/epoxy cylindrical pressure hull with stiffeners bolted to the metal superstructure.
titanium hemispherical endclosures. The Mast fairings on Navy submarines are fitted
design depth is 6095m (20000 ft) and it has
had 134 successful operations, including dives
to 3557 m (12 000 ft). The AUSS locates and
inspects objects on the ocean bottom with
sonar and cameras and transmits the informa-
tion to the surface acoustically. It is an
untethered vehicle, receiving commands
through the acoustic link.


There are numerous submarine and surface
ship sonar domes. The largest sonar domes in !
service for the Navy are submarine bow
domes. All bow domes made to date were
fabricated at the Terminal Island facility of
Hitco’s Defense Products Division. The struc-
tures are fabricated with glass/epoxy
prepreg and are autoclave cured in one stage,
which is remarkable because of the size,
weight and thickness of the parts. The mater-
ial characteristics necessary to allow the
one-stage cure are stringent and only four
materials have been qualified for use in sonar
bow domes (Hitco, 1986). The mechanical
properties specified are also restrictive, par- :
ticularly the value of Mode I fracture
toughness, where an incipient value of
2627 J/m2 (15 in lb/in) is specified.
Fig. 42.3 Submarine fairwater. (Courtesy of Lunn
Industries, Inc. Wyandanch, NY.)
924 Marine applications

on periscope masts, antenna masts and 42.6.8 CONTROL SURFACES

snorkel masts. The masts are constructed from
epoxy/fiberglass and some types are filament The NR-1 nuclear powered research subma-
rine was targeted by NAVSEA and the David
Figure 42.4 illustrates a propulsion shaft Taylor Research Center as a test platform for
fairwater for the US Navy’s CG-47 class cruis- the first all-composite diving planes. The div-
ers. These hybrid-composite components were ing planes are hybrid composite construction
filament wound with continuous carbon and with a syntactic foam core.
glass fibers on a six-axis filament winder. They
provide a 50% reduction in weight over their 42.6.9 OILPLATFORMS
metallic counterpart while exhibiting superior
stiffness and strength. These cantilevered The offshore oil industry is making use of com-
structures are subjected to large hydrody- posite materials on their platform structures.
namic loads. The composite system resists Examples of applications are: composite drain
corrosion and biofouling due to a co-cured lines, composite cable trays, composite well
external jacket which also improves acoustic head access platforms (Fig. 42.5) and compos-
characteristics. ite firewater systems (Fig. 42.6). The structures

Fig. 42.4 Propulsion shaft fairwater. (Courtesy of B.F. Goodrich Aerospace, Engineered Polymer Products
Business Group, Jacksonville,FL.)
Machinery 925

42.6.11 DECKING
Aside from the application mentioned in the
section on oil platforms (Fig. 42.5), composite
decking is used where lightweight non-cor-
roding decking is needed. Examples are ship
superstructures, work platforms and catwalks.

Composite deckhouse armor is used by the
Navy in the LHD class. LHD-1, the USS Wasp,
has panels composed of Kevlar reinforced
Fig. 42.5 Composite wellhead access platform. vinyl ester. For LHD-2, LHD-3 and LHD-4, the
(Courtesy of EXXON Production Research material was changed to S-2 fabric-reinforced
Company.) phenolic, each vessel of which carries
64 000 kg (140 000 lb) of armor plate (Owens
Corning Fiberglas, 1991). The change was
made to reduce cost without sacrificing ballis-
tics protection. The fiber/matrix adhesion in
the S-2 material was deliberately engineered to
be poor, which results in superior resistance to
penetration by projectiles.



Use of composites in propeller shafts is being
investigated at the Naval Surface Warfare
Fig. 42.6 Compositefirewater systems on EXXONs Center, Carderock Division (Wilhelmi,
BATT platform. (Courtesy of Ameron Inc.) Appleman and Loo, 1986). The advantages
over steel are reduced galvanic corrosion,
are fabricated from pultruded vinyl ester with weight, cost and bearing loads, while allowing
an outer scrim of continuous glass mat while an increase in fatigue stresses, flexibility and
the pipelines are filament wound glass/epoxy. vibration damping. A small diameter 63.5 mm
(2.5 in) filament wound propulsion shaft has
been evaluated in a 4-year t i a l aboard a Naval
Academy Yard Patrol Vessel (YP-654 Class).
Repairs to bridges, piers, docks and other Encouraging results from the YP trial, labora-
structures with deteriorating pilings are tory torsion and fatigue testing and analytical
accomplished by pulling a fiberglass form studies employing finite element stress analy-
around the old piling underwater. The form is sis techniques have led to current R&D efforts
set on a precast concrete footing which fits to develop a Navy-Standard composite shaft-
around the old piling. The fiberglass form is ing 'base laminate', design and procurement
then pumped full of concrete. The form may specifications and a metal/composite cou-
be stripped and re-used or left in place as pling technique suitable for the largest
added protection from ice and floating debris. diameter shafting systems.
926 Marine applications

42.7.2 PIPING SYSTEMS permit measurement of the radial thermal con-

ductivity of experimental candidate composite
Composite piping systems are gaining accep-
heat exchanger tubes (Korczynski, 1993).
tance in marine applications (Fig. 42.6). The
Installation of composite centrifugal pumps
components of piping systems, piping, fit-
tings, valves, heat exchangers and pumps, are (Suitt and Girona, 1993) and piping on Navy
all being investigated for replacement with ships has proven encouraging to date. There
fiberglass (Wilhelmi, 1988). The major reason are some unresolved issues involved with
for replacement is the elimination of corrosion more extensive utilization of composite piping
and galvanic effects, resulting in an increased components in Navy ships, namely, concerns
service life with less maintenance. In addition, about impact, shock and fire resistance.
composite pump components and valves have
improved erosion resistance compared with
metallic counterparts. A fluid flow loop was
designed and built by NSWC Carderock Composite materials in the diving industry
Division to evaluate the performance of the have proven advantages in numerous applica-
composite components under typical operat- tions. Figure 42.7 illustrates a fundamental
ing flow rates, pressures and temperatures. shift from the standard Navy Deep Sea Diving
This facility also incorporates a single-tube dress consisting of a copper and brass helmet
counterflow heat exchanger configuration to and breast plate bolted to a canvas suit with

Fig. 42.7 Navy standard deep sea diving dress, old and new. (Courtesy of Coastal Systems Station,
Dahlgren Division, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Panama City, FL.)
Machinery 927

lead shoes and lead weight belt. Out of water

the dress weighed over 90kg (200 lb). The
modern dress consists of a fiberglass helmet - %
with neoprene suit and weighs less than 45 kg
(100 Ib) on land. Many of the buckles and fas-
teners used to attach lifelines, hot water lines,
emergency backpacks and other accessories
are made of a thermoplastic with a chopped
fiber filler, replacing metal fittings which tend
to corrode. Surface supplied gas bottles for the
diver’s breathing air are made from fiberglass
overwrapped cylinders (Fig. 42.8). These gas
bottles can be charged to 20.6 Mpa (3000 psig)
and represent a 50% weight reduction over
conventional steel cylinders.
Figure 42.9 illustrates another type of div-
ing suit. The torso is a carbon fiber reinforced
vinyl ester. It is made by hand lay-up on a
mandrel and room temperature cured while
rotating on a spit. The diver inside the suit
remains at one atmosphere of pressure and
can dive to 610 m (2000 ft) remaining for sev-
eral hours without the need for
Portable recompression chambers for trans-
porting divers iA need of treatment from
remote areas are made from filament wound Fig. 42.9 Navy One Man One Atmosphere Diving
System (NOMOADS). (Courtesyof Coastal Systems
Once inside and pressur- Station, D d g r e n Division, Naval Surface Warfare
ized, the diver may be transported to a Center,panamacity,~~.)
medical recompression facility.

7----- 42.7.4 CABLES

Because carbon is conductive, some interest has
been generated in making light weight conduc-
tive cables for underwater instrumentation
using specially treated carbon fibers. Due to the
weight of copper or aluminum wire, towed
electronicsunderwater are difficult to engineer.


Sophisticated buoys for oceanographic mea-
surement have been developed for long term
mooring of instruments at depths up to 914 m
Fig. 42.8 Special diver air support system. (3000 ft) of sea water. The buoys are made of
(Courtesy of Structural Composites Industry, a Syntactic foam and are deployed in a SUbSUr-
Harsco Company.) face mode. They can provide over 680kg
928 Marine applications

(1500 lb) of buoyancy. In addition, buoyancy New marine applications of composites are
systems are used on risers for offshore oil rigs.also under development. A particularly chal-
Because drilling takes place in excess of 1.6 km lenging and intriguing application is deep
(1mi) deep on some rigs, the drill sections diving man-rated pressure hulls. The
become extremely heavy and require flotation Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA)
to offset the enormous weight. Syntactic foam is sponsoring the Thick Composites
with a tough outer composite skin is used for Technology Development program to design,
durable flotation. Many Coast Guard buoys fabricate and evaluate a Man-Rated
are now being deployed with syntactic foam Demonstration Article constructed of carbon
cores and composite skins. reinforced composite materials (Kelly, 1993).
The objective of this program is to develop the
technology, experience and confidence neces-
sary to demonstrate the feasibility of using
composites in primary structure in underwa-
Use of composites in the marine environment ter vehicles (Hoffman and Kelly, 1992; Leon
continues to evolve. There are several recently and Coffenberry, 1992; Camponeschi et al.,
developed resins, prepreg fabrics, cores and 1994).
fabrication processes whose implementation
will significantly change the industry. REFERENCES
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