High strength - low weight
Carbon fibre reinforcement provides strength and rigidity at extremely low weight.
Carbon fibre reinforced plastics (CFRP) is a composite material consisting of carbon fibres in combination with a termoset resin, typically vinyl-ester or epoxy. It can be used as single skin laminate or together with a core material in a sandwich construction.
CRFP gives 4 times the E-modulus and 2-3 times the tensile strength of traditional glass fibre reinforcement at 40 % less weight.
Carbon fibres does not rust or corrode like metals.
Carbon fibre is used in products where low weight and high strength matters. It has been widely applied in sports equipment, racing cars and racing sailboats etc, but is now also more commonly used for commercial products, for instance like sailboat masts, windmill blades and series production car components.
The aircraft industry is perhaps the best example of successful appliance of carbon fibre. The two biggest aircraft producers, Airbus and Boeing are replacing aluminium with carbon fibre on their latest models in order to save fuel and maintenance costs.
See video from Airbus here about there use of carbon fibre composites.
Carbon fibre in shipbuilding
In order to reduce the consumption of fast ferries, low weight is essential. This is the reason why Brødrene Aa developed the first ferry made of lightweight carbon fibre composite in 2002.
By using carbon fibre instead of aluminium in production of fast ferries it is possible to save nearly 50% of the structural weight. This typically reduces overall consumption by 20%.
Research shows that, due to fuel consumption, 90% of the emissions is produced during the operation phase of the vessel`s life cycle. The best way to make environmental friendly vessels is therefore to make them lightweight in combination with fuel-efficient hull and propulsion.
Outside maintenance is reduced with 50%
Carbon fibres does not rust or corrode, and the material is extremely durable. There is no need for regular outside maintenance like on an metal vessel where small cracks must be welded regularly. Figures from our customers shows that outside maintanance is cut by 50% on their carbon fibre vessels compared to their aluminium vessels.
Due to the rigid and stiff carbon fibre material, the hull will maintain its original shape without deformations between the frames which is commonly observed on aluminium vessels.
After Brødrene Aa introduced the first carbon fibre vessel in 2002, the material has gradually gained acceptance in the market. Today vessels made of carbon fibre are dominating the norwegian market (see chart below) and the first carbon fibre vessels has now been operating successfully for more than ten years.
Diagram: Vessels sold to the Norwegian market between 2003-2013, sorted by building material. (source: Fast Ferry International Database)
Brødrene Aa has delivered 36 carbon fibre vessels at the end of 2013. All the main operators in Norway now owns several carbon fibre vessels.