MarineCare – Sustainability in boat building and water sports


Composite materials made of glass fibers and plastics are often used in the manufacturing of boats and water sports equipment. The energy-intensive production of fibers and components as well as the use of plastics, most of which are based on petroleum, contradict the sustainability concept. To improve sustainability in the marine sector, the research project "MarineCare" was initiated. The aim is to develop a sustainable composite sandwich material as well as a minimal-waste manufacturing process. The sandwich structure combines a cork or foam core made of recycled PET, obtained from disposable bottles, with prepreg face sheets made of recycled carbon fibers (rCF) and a bio-based epoxy resin (Fig. 1). The sandwich will be produced in a vacuum-based manufacturing process.

A risk factor in the use of this type of vacuum-based prepreg process are air entrapments between the prepreg layers. These air entrapments lead to pores within the components which significantly reduce their mechanical properties. To reduce the risk of air entrapments, the textile is not impregnated with the powder over the entire surface, but in a cleverly designed pattern. The pattern impregnation improves the evacuation behavior of the prepregs and allows the control of their drapeability. Within the scope of the project, IVW is researching the relationship between pattern geometry and important processing parameters, such as the draping (Fig. 3) or impregnation behavior with regard to the textile.

In addition to the processing behavior, the textile decisively determines the mechanical properties. The lightweight potential can only be optimally exploited if the fibers are aligned along the load paths occurring in the component. However, the currently commercially available rCF textiles are exclusively nonwoven fabrics with tangled fiber distribution which makes fiber orientation impossible. For this reason, one of the main efforts of the three project partners IVW, Swiss CMT AG and GREENBOATS GmbH was to develop an rCF textile in which the fibers are aligned. This was achieved in cooperation with Wagenfelder Spinnereien GmbH and Tissa Glasweberei AG by first producing yarns from rCF which were subsequently processed in a weaving process to produce unidirectional textiles (Fig. 1, right). With the help of this textile, the rCF can be optimally aligned along the load paths and the lightweight potential can be utilized in the most efficient way. At the end of the project, the newly developed textiles will be applied in a demonstrator in the form of a foil board (Fig. 4).

The Eurostars project „MarineCare” is funded by Federal Ministry of Education and Research (funding code 01QE2028C).

Jan Janzen, M.Sc.
Manufacturing Science
Phone: 0631 2017 461

Sustainable composite sandwich with unidirectional rCF face sheets and cork core; right: unidirectional rCF textile.

Manufactured powder prepreg with square pattern

Studies on the shear behavior of the sampled prepregs; left: before shear, right: after shear.

Target component: Sustainable foil board from the company GREENBOATS GmbH, length: approx. 1.4 m

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