STAMFORD, Conn. – At METS 2021, Hexcel will showcase a series of innovative prepreg technologies that provide both reduced weight and lower total manufacturing costs for the Marine industry. Also on display at the company’s booth will be material demonstrator parts and marine components from some of Europe’s leading boatyards.
Hexcel advanced composite materials are used for hull and deck structures, masts, and appendages of luxury superyachts and racing yachts for the America’s Cup and IMOCA class. These materials offer significant weight-savings potential within commercial marine applications. Technologies to be showcased include:
HexPly® M79 Prepregs for Short Cycle Times
DNV GL accredited HexPly® M79 prepregs can be cured at 70˚C for eight hours or 80˚C for four hours, increasing build rates with reduced heating and cooling times. The low exotherm HexPly M79 prepreg system does not require time-consuming dwell stages during the cure cycle, it is easy to handle, and it is robust in the production environment with an out-life of up to eight weeks at 23˚C. With consistently low void contents and improved mechanical properties, naval architects and marine design engineers are now able to further optimize highly loaded composite structures such as hulls, decks, rigs, and foils.
G-Vent Technology Reduces Out of Autoclave Prepreg Lay-up Time
Patented Hexcel G-Vent technology is designed for out-of-autoclave (OoA) processing and significantly improves the efficiency and quality of thick section parts by reducing the requirement for debulking steps. G-Vent technology is available with the full range of Hexcel marine industry prepregs and ensures super low porosity (<1%) for superior performance irrespective of the laminate thickness.
Visitors to the Hexcel stand at METS will view a unique 400mm carbon cube cured in a single stage using 695 layers of HexPly M79 carbon fiber UD600 prepreg with G-Vent technology. Providing a massive reduction in processing time for thick laminates, G-Vent is a key enabling technology for large-scale commercial marine composite applications.
HexPly® XF Surfacing Prepreg and HexPly® SuperFIT® Prepregs
Hexcel will demonstrate the stunning surface quality achieved by leading superyacht builders that use HexPly XF surfacing prepreg for superstructure components.
A section of a composite hardtop sun canopy, manufactured by a leading luxury yacht builder using Hexcel’s DNV certified XF Technology and HexPly M79 SuperFIT® materials, confirms both the pinhole-free finish achieved straight from the mold, as well as the exceptional final paint surface quality that is produced with minimum surface preparation.
Also on display is a surface quality stud, that illustrates the reduction in print-through produced when an oven-cured XF surfaced laminate is directly compared to a traditional in mold gelcoat or standard prepreg surface technology.
HexPly® XF is a highly drapable single-ply prepreg surfacing solution that reduces time in the lay-up process, is lighter than a traditional in-mold gelcoat and removes the need for any print blocking barrier layers. HexPly XF is suitable for prepreg and infusion processes including out-of-autoclave and vacuum bag cure and is available as prepreg, semipreg, and resin film with different reinforcement and epoxy resin configurations.
Leading yacht builders have also benefitted from further processing advantages when using carbon fiber HexPly® SuperFIT prepreg (semipregs) materials for the structural laminate below the XF surface layer. Hexcel SuperFIT products are only partially impregnated, with the air pathways in the dry fabric face facilitating the easy removal of air or volatiles from the laminate, minimizing porosity with no time-consuming debulking steps. Easy to process with good drape and tack for simple positioning in the mold, HexPly SuperFIT technology enables faster build times with improved laminate quality for a complete range of hull, deck, and superstructure applications.
Hexcel HiMax® Carbon Multiaxials and PrimeTex® Woven Carbon Fabrics for infusion
Hexcel DNV Certified HiMax® reinforcements have recently been used to infuse the hull and deck structures of the Gunboat 68, a high-performance all carbon fiber series-built catamaran. Hexcel supplies an optimized package of carbon fiber multiaxial fabrics with fiber weights, fabric architecture, and product width specifically tailored to the epoxy infusion build process. Hexcel PrimeTex® fabrics are also used as the outermost layer in the yacht’s construction, with the patented fiber spreading process producing a flatter and more uniform surface finish.
Hexcel’s latest marine innovations will be on display at the Hexcel booth at METSTRADE 2021, Stand: EF.110.
Hexcel Corporation is a leading advanced composites company. It develops, manufactures and markets lightweight, high-performance structural materials including carbon fibers, specialty reinforcements, prepregs and other fiber-reinforced matrix materials, honeycomb, adhesives, engineered core and composite structures for use in commercial aerospace, space and defense and industrial applications.