resins, but their superior resistance to hydrol-
ysis and blistering aacquemet and LaGrange,
1988) makes isophthalic polyester a better
choice for applications requiring long term
Use of composites in marine applications is
widespread. The two major advantages of fiber
reinforced dastics over metals are resistance to
exposure to water.
Use of vinyl esters is becoming more com-
mon. Although they are more expensive than
polyesters, vinyl ester laminates generally
have better properties.
addition, vinyl esters
have excellent resistance to matrix hydrolysis.
Also available are mixtures of vinyl ester and
polyester, which offer some of the benefits of
vinyl ester but at intermediate cost.
Epoxy laminating resins, rarely used in
marine applications due to cost and the need
for elevated temperature cure, are used by
some boat builders in high performance one-
off racing craft and some production boats.
Among the advantages of epoxy are extended
out-time compared to room temperature cur-
ing resins and low volatile organic content.
The material form is wet epoxy prepreg
(sometimes referred to as a wet-preg to distin-
guish it from conventional prepreg) made by
the boat builder (Gougeon, 1992). Fabrication
is normally by vacuum bag, room temperature
cure followed by oven post-cure at about 50°C
the marine environment, particularly the elim-
ination of galvanic corrosion and the ease of
tailoring structures, which are fabricated by
molding processes. In addition, composites
have high strength-to-weight ratios.
This chapter is an overview of the materials
and fabrication processes used in marine appli-
cations of composites. More comprehensive
studies of the use of composites in marine con-
struction have recently been published (Smith,
1990; Greene, 1990; Davies and Lemoine, 1992).
Resins used in marine applications generally
cure at room temperature, both for the low
fabrication costs and because elevated temper-
ature performance is not required.
General purpose polyester is the most com-
mon laminating resin. These materials, based
on orthophthalic acid (phthalic anhydride),
are the least expensive, but long term immer-
sion without a barrier coat will probably result
in blistering (Burrell, Herzog and McCabe,
1987). Polyesters based on isophthalic acid are
slightly more expensive than general purpose
E-glass fabric is the primary reinforcement in
marine construction, of which there are numer-
ous forms. There are two basic styles: woven
and knitted. Woven fabrics are further subdi-
vided into woven roving and woven yarn.
Handbook of Composites. Edited by S.T. Peters. Published
in 1998 by Chapman
Hall, London. ISBN