Sustainable carbon fiber mast

Hexcel has completed its build of a 34m carbon fiber prepreg mast at a French shipyard.

The demonstrator mast was supplied to companies in the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard’s Silenseas project, which aims to develop quieter and more environmentally responsible cruise ships, making use of carbon fiber masts and durable composite solid sails. Plans are for the composite sail plan, along with dual-fuel engines for ships, to deliver fuel savings of up to 30%.

The mast, built in sections, is made of HexPly M9.6 prepregs 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 company said.

Hexcel next aims to improve its prepreg manufacture to use out-of-autoclave (OoA) processing while maintaining the current laminate quality in the thick (>150mm) section carbon fiber parts.

Silenseas also plans 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.

“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,’ said Claude Despierres, vp sales and marketing, Hexcel Industrial.