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Laminate design composite canoe

News International-French

7 Jan 2016

2015 ICF canoe freestyle world championship paddlers gain top 3 podium positions in new laminate design composite boats with Crestapol 1250LV

Laminate design composite canoe

The 2015 ICF World Championship Finals for Freestyle Kayaking took place earlier this year at Garberator Wave on the Ottawa River in Canada. In both the men’s and women’s K1 and Squirt boat classes, top podium positions were gained by 11 of the 12 winning competitors paddling custom made composite kayaks from Murky Water Paddling Supplies Ltd. and Jackson Kayaks. All bar one of the winning boats were built using an innovative, new laminate design for top end competition kayaks, with Crestapol 1250LV specified as the high performance infusion resin along with a carbon fibre (CF) and InnegraTM HIC fabric reinforcement system (a co-mingled hydrophobic woven fabric made with Innegra H yarns).  Crestapol 1250LV is an ambient curing urethane acrylate thermosetting resin, developed by Scott Bader for producing high performance carbon fibre reinforced, glass fibre, and aramid fibre parts by vacuum infusion or resin transfer moulding (RTM) at room temperature.

A winning combination
Murky Water Paddling Supplies Ltd is a Canadian company located in Binbrook, Ontario, less than 65 km from Niagra Falls. The company specialises in designing and manufacturing custom made composite boats for Squirt, Freestyle and Surf kayaking, offering enthusiasts and competitive paddlers a choice of composite layup options using materials which reduce weight, yet increase the strength and stiffness of the kayak. Murky Water also custom builds for Jackson Kayaks, supplying Crestapol – Innegra / carbon specification composite boats ordered by customers; this included the two ‘Rockstar’ kayaks used by this year’s men’s and women’s K1 class world championship finalist winners, Dane Jackson and Emily Jackson, both from the USA. There was also success in the men’s and women’s Squirt class ICF finals, where again the 2015 world champions, Stephen Wright (USA) and Claire O'Hara (UK) took first place paddling Murky Water’s built ‘Slip’ composite squirt boats, resin infused using Crestapol 1250LV resin reinforced with CF and Innegra HIC woven fabric.

Lightweight with exceptional strength
This innovative new high performance, very lightweight composite laminate system is now the preferred and recommended specification for top performance boats by Ed Skrzypkowski, owner and head moulder of Murky Water, who has over 30 years’ experience in composite boat moulding and does most of the materials research and final selection for production. Initial contact was made with Scott Bader two years ago to trial an epoxy bonding Crystic gelcoat. After discussions with Jeff Starcher, North American Technical Sales Manager for Scott Bader Inc., about using Crestapol 1250LV infusion resin as an alternative to the vinyl ester (VE) or epoxy higher performance liquid resin systems used up until then, Ed Skrzypkowski agreed to put Crestapol lamination resin to the test and build a trial kayak to establish how well it would perform with the proven carbon fibre-Innegra HIC fabric reinforcement system for higher performance boats.

The polypropylene based Innegra fibre co-woven and co-mingled fabric product options using fiber produced by Innegra Technologies Inc., originally selected to make lighter and tougher kayaks, have been successfully used by Murky Boats for some years; Innegra fibers are typically used in combination with other high modulus fibres, such as glass, carbon and basalt to increase toughness and durability, while also providing energy dissipation, vibration damping, and significant weight reduction. The expectation prior to moulding a boat with Crestapol as the laminate resin was that further performance gains would be made; the new combination did not disappoint.

The performance of the Crestapol 1250LV prototype boat surprised the Murky Water team, providing a winning combination of additional weight reduction and greater impact strength, toughness and durability to cope with the extensive amount of repeated high impact abuse ‘bottoming out’ in rocky shallows, sliding down rocky sections and the water slamming after taking off that occurs when whitewater kayaking in fast running rivers. Ed Skrzypkowski explained why they invested the time to develop this new laminate system and what they found: “Murky Water is always on the lookout for new and innovative materials to build the best products we can. Our aim is to make kayaks as light and as strong as possible. Crestapol 1250LV resin is an impressive product which compliments the amazing performance of the Innegra fabric.  We now much prefer using Crestapol to a vinyl ester or epoxy. Not only is it easier to make boats with, but it also offers competition paddlers a faster, higher performance kayak.”  Due to the very high mechanical properties of the Crestapol resin, combined with the greater vacuum infusion moulding control possible, less resin is used and so a thinner, lighter laminate can be moulded, saving both weight and cost, with improved laminate performance.  

Production Benefits
Murky Water also found a number of attractive production benefits to using Crestapol instead of an epoxy or vinyl ester (VE) resin. Firstly, the Crestapol resin is fully compatible with both a conventional UV weather resistant unsaturated polyester resin (UPR) marine grade gelcoat and the woven CF-Innegra HIC reinforcements. Secondly, Crestapol 1250LV infusion resin proved to be much easier and quicker to process, curing rapidly at ambient temperature, with no requirement for any post-cure treatment.  For all manufacturers, there is the added production benefit of being able to use conventional UPR closed moulding systems for all Crestapol resins, with processing parameter flexibility to suit different production conditions and requirements.

Proven Performance Benefits
Since being launched back in 2012, leading fabricators have been able to use Crestapol 1250LV closed mould resin to cost effectively manufacture significantly lighter, stronger and more durable glass, carbon, Innegra and aramid fibre reinforced parts, which also meet aesthetic quality standards, exhibiting  excellent surface finish with minimal fibre print through. This has been successfully proven over the last three years in a variety of motorsport, transportation and marine applications. According to published Scott Bader technical data, Crestapol 1250LV typically has ultimate tensile strength of 76 MPa (~11,000 psi) and Tg of 115 -120 deg C / 239-248 deg F (HDT 109 deg C /228 deg F), offering high temperature performance capabilities with exceptional toughness characteristics (GIC toughness 575 Jm2). Exceptional mechanical performance properties and significant weight reduction benefits, particularly in combination with carbon fibre reinforcements, have established Crestapol 1250LV as a serious alternative to established epoxy resin systems.