Carbon Fiber Hull
Article about the pros and cons of using Carbon Fiber in shipbuilding
CARBON FIBER HULL
Carbon Fiber is a composite material with many advantages over aluminum and fiberglass. Although its use has been rare in superyacht construction, there are several benefits to using carbon fiber for everything from the mast to the actual hull of the vessel. Carbon Fiber (3.5GPa) has nearly three times the tensile strength of Steel, making it very durable and wear-resistant. Carbon Fiber weighs nearly five times less than steel, which results in significant weight reduction and reduction in fuel consumption. Carbon fiber has a high level of corrosion resistance, much higher than aluminum or fiberglass, which are two hull materials that require annual maintenance and up-keep as well as specialized careening care to prevent damage to the hull. Carbon fiber has a higher tensile strength than aluminum and fiberglass, making the hull more durable and stronger. It is rare to witness a superyacht hull as well as the superstructure constructed entirely in carbon fiber, but there are several parts of a vessel, such as the mast, that can benefit from the unique qualities of carbon fiber. Carbon fiber weighs much less than aluminum and fiberglass, which results in consistent savings as well as beneficial reduction in the amount of fuel the vessel consumes. The disadvantage of carbon fiber is that it is costly and more expensive than aluminum or fiberglass, which is why a superyacht is rarely constructed entirely of carbon fiber. Although carbon fiber can be used in various parts of a vessel, it would be cost prohibitive to construct an entire superyacht hull and superstructure entirely from carbon fiber. The advantages of carbon fiber including its reduced weight, higher tensile strength, and high level of corrosion resistance, make it ideal for use in areas that experience the greatest amount of wear and tear, such as the mast or the actual ship's hull. As its use becomes more widespread, carbon fiber will become more financially viable as well as becoming more readily available for maritime industry implementation.