Saturday 20 December 2014

A New Boatbulding Material?

Engineers at the eminent Fraunhofer Institute in Germany have developed an aluminium foam sandwich that is said to be 20 per cent lighter than grp and so stiff you can build shell structures with no reinforcing ribs. Sounds ideal for boats.
The material is shaped by embossing and in the process of foaming the metal filling (which is mainly aluminium with manganese, silicon and copper. I have been unable to work out how this is done because Fraunhofer's press release is a bit vague but the first product, a cab for a high speed train, looks damned impressive.
It sounds perfect for boatbuilding. Imagine a hull that is lighter and much stronger than grp, with no internal ribs. Bolt on a pair of rowlocks to the gunwales and a stretcher to the floor, add a box to sit on and away you go. Hmmm...

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