The company, through its newly acquired subsidiary EPL Composite Solutions, will work with Alex Thomson Racing to incorporate graphene enhanced materials in their Research and Development programme to improve overall strength and stiffness of a number of key structures within the boat.
The initial work will include an immediate review to ascertain weight saving opportunities. In particular both want to add Haydale’s graphene nano platelets into both the carbon fibre reinforced plastics and the epoxy resins. Recent work carried out by the company with Cardiff University shows improvements of around 40% in the plane shear strength of CFRP while the U.S. based research institute Aerospace Corporation endorsed the use of the platelets in achieving more than a 100% increase in structural strength and stiffness for epoxy resin systems.
Outside of the obvious opportunity to improve overall strength and stiffness the teams plan a review of bearings and friction points plus critical areas such as delamination of materials and thermal heat management.
Stewart Hosford, Managing Director of Alex Thomson Racing said;
It’s exciting to be using such industry leading technology in our Research and Development programme. It is important that we deliver a vessel that has the strength to race around the world, but keeps the weight of HUGO BOSS to a minimum. It is similar to Formula One in that you need to keep the vessel light to ensure optimum speed without a compromise on strength, providing the results for the title sponsor whilst racing. I am looking forward to seeing the results and using this technology in future design concepts.
Under the terms of the agreement, Haydale will seek project funding for longer term assignments such as the inclusion of Haydale graphenes into barrier films and coatings and to investigate how these could improve the boat’s performance.