Many markets have benefited from the advance of composites, but perhaps none more so than the Recreational and Commercial Marine industries. Building vessels that can meet the exacting demands of a water environment, especially a saltwater one, has always been a challenge. Life at sea means continual exposure to harsh elements - including direct sunlight, wind and water pressure, the corrosive effect of saltwater, as well as man-made factors such as diesel fuel, lubricants, and other chemicals.
Composites provide some of the best solutions to issues caused by these marine conditions. From stronger FRP (fiber-reinforced polymer) boat hulls and interiors, to corrosion-resistant marine parts, to specialized submersible components, marine composites have revolutionized what is possible.
The effect marine composites have had on the Marine Industry is most apparent when looking the hulls, decks and interiors of most recreational boats and commercial ships in production today. The use of composites containing fiberglass, carbon fiber or glass/carbon hybrid composites, is practically everywhere you look. Classic ship building using wood will never go out of style, but since the 1950's commercial production of FRP-hulled boats, has increased dramatically. While some prefer aluminium verses fiberglass hull construction for certain craft (especially for shallow-water river boats), overall a fiberglass composite offers the greatest range of design and style options, as well as the most comfortable ride.
When it comes to engineering parts that can withstand the sea, composites definitely have the advantage over traditional materials. Composite materials for watercraft can be custom-made to: resist corrosion, withstand water pressure at great depths, provide water-tight seals, as well as meet many other specific requirements. Many traditional rubber parts for example, which were once used as marine gaskets, are now being made from much stronger composite materials. The same goes for components used in marine engines and pumps. As the marine industry continues to push for more energy-efficient engines, and better preforming parts, the reliance on composites to improve efficiency is growing.
Two examples of Globe Composite products that have increased efficiency for the recreational marine industry are the self-lubricating Run-Dry® pump impeller and the Drivesaver® vibration-dampening flexible coupling.
The Run-Dry® pump impeller is made of a special high-strength self-lubricating elastomer that gives it superior resistance to sand and dirt, as well as allowing it to run-dry for up to 15 minutes. A regular impeller could fail in half the time without an external liquid to serve as a lubricant.
The Drivesaver® vibration-dampening flexible coupling is another unique example of how new materials can extend the life of marine parts and help boats run better. Instead of being engineered to be stronger than steel, the Drivesaver® is designed as a "safety valve" to break apart under pressure, before your boat's metal drive shaft is damaged. It is designed to absorb the extreme shock and torque usually caused by collision with a hidden log, line, or rock- saving your powertrain. The Drivesaver® also effectively absorbs routine thrust and torque from the propeller shaft, as well as excessive shock from changing gears and high speed planing.
There is really no limit to what can be done with Marine composite parts. If you’re looking for robust Marine Components that are strong enough to handle your toughest Marine applications, then contact Globe Composite Solutions. Globe’s design engineers, chemists and machine shop professionals will take the time to understand your needs of your new marine part and produce production-ready parts for testing and first-article acceptance. And, Globe can redesign existing metal, plastic or rubber marine parts to radically improve the performance of your existing product as well.