STAMFORD, Conn. – Hexcel, a global leader in advanced composite technologies, announces the successful completion of a 34m HexPly® carbon fiber prepreg mast for the Chantiers de l’Atlantique Silenseas project. The HexPly M9.6 prepregs supplied to the Silenseas consortium’s mast section manufacturers satisfied all project quality, mechanical, and processing performance targets delivering a scalable, cost-competitive composite solution to power cleaner, more sustainable transportation using commercial vessels.
The Silenseas project was started by Chantiers de l’Atlantique, Saint Nazaire, France, one of the world’s largest shipyards, to validate its new concept to power the next generation of quieter and more environmentally responsible cruise ships. Silenseas vessels harness the power of ocean winds with huge carbon fiber masts flying durable composite solid sails. In combination with dual-fuel engines for ships, the composite sail plan will deliver fuel savings of up to 30%, enabling a significant step toward reducing future greenhouse gas emissions.
Hexcel is a leader in prepreg solutions for large structural components, wind turbine blades in particular, and has supplied composite materials to the marine industry since the 1970s. Its products have been a key part of Silenseas rig structures since the project began and were used for the 34m high demonstrator mast recently installed on land at Chantiers de l’Atlantique’s base in Saint Nazaire. The HexPly M9.6 prepregs were supplied with a range of heavyweight standard modulus carbon fiber unidirectional (UD), woven, and non-crimp fabric (NCF) reinforcements. HexPly materials used in the Silenseas project included special modifications to improve handling, lay-up speed, and consolidation.
The latest Silenseas mast was built in sections using a standardized production process by Lorient-based partners. With future masts intended to be more than two times the size of the top section demonstrator just installed, the Silenseas project team has developed a roadmap for the production scale-up. Hexcel process enhancing prepreg technologies will play a vital role in these next steps, with a long-term objective to use out-of-autoclave (OoA) processing while maintaining the current laminate quality in the thick (>150mm) section carbon fiber parts.
Silenseas now plan to scale up the innovative composite rigs with future vessels intended to carry three 66m high carbon fiber masts, delivering potential fuel savings of up to 30% by 2025.
“Hexcel congratulates Chantiers de l’Atlantique, and all of the Silenseas project consortium partners, on the successful demonstrator test program in Saint Nazaire and the cleaner ocean transport it promises to develop,” said Claude Despierres, VP Sales and Marketing, Hexcel Industrial. “We are delighted to be a part of this collaboration, delivering lightweight composite technologies that help reduce emissions and lead to a more sustainable future.”
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.
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