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One of the world’s most luxurious motor cruiser projects is using structural bonding technology from Huntsman Advanced Materials. Araldite 2015 has been exclusively specified in the construction of the Neptys First Life 27 – a high tech, semi rigid power boat, made from a vinyl ester infusion.
Developed by AirNautics France, a Marseille-based manufacturer of marine composite components, the boat was designed by Jean Michel Angileri, manager of the company and naval architect Olivier Philippot.
Because of its short length of 8.5m and speed (50 knots plus), the Neptys First Life 27 is subject to impact and vibrations. As a result, the designers had to be sure that the bonding characteristics of the adhesive combination selected could withstand the stress of the environmental conditions at sea. For this high tech boat, a technical and strong solution was needed.
After prototypes were made with RenShape BM 5460, the project moved on to the assessment of adhesives, where a number of formulations from Huntsman were trialled. In order to achieve the best price to performance ratio, Philippot, who is also an engineer in composites materials, decided to search for an alternative to methacrylates adhesives. One of the key objectives for the boat’s construction was to find a solution that would not involve the use of machinery in the dosing and application process.
Samples of the vinyl ester infusion to be bonded were sent to Huntsman’s laboratories at Basel, Switzerland, where the Material Testing Department took these along with the specified marine qualification criteria to conduct an extensive characterisation capabilities evaluation programme.
Emphasis was placed on identifying a formulation capable of providing reactivity for the materials used in the boat’s construction. Huntsman produced a comprehensive technical report, including material samples and photos, recommending the use of Araldite 2015 based on its ability to meet the performance characteristics necessary for this type of marine application.
Araldite 2015 is a two-component epoxy adhesive paste that cures at room temperature. The designers found this adhesive superior to other formulations in providing better reactivity, efficiency and overall quality of design. While offering high resistance to water, humidity and chemicals, Araldite 2015 also delivers improved performance on the water. This allows the Neptys First Life 27 to withstand the impact of speeds up to 99km/hr.
Easy to mix, Araldite 2015’s 25min work life at 23°C proved appropriate for the necessary timescales the designer had set for bonding the deck to the hull, including the internal components. Particularly important in the decision making process was the need for a medium time for bonding application (more than 30min/less than two hours), low price and less odour during application and polymerisation.
Commenting, Philippot says: "Working closely with Huntsman’s laboratories, it soon became apparent that Araldite 2015 was the best product available for bonding vinyl ester, delivering guaranteed strength, optimum performance and increased durability.”
He continues: "Following the efficient application of the adhesive, the quality of the bonds was tested under rigorous conditions to guarantee that the product could withstand high levels of force and impact whilst travelling at high speeds on the sea.”
A thixotropic solution, Araldite 2015 is resistant to sag at up to 10mm thick. It is particularly suitable for SMC and GRP bonding and when formulated for specific applications it forms durable, elastomeric joints that are water tight and weather resistant, making it ideal for all types of marine applications.
Since its launch, the Neptys First Life 27 has often been described as one of the most beautiful boats in its class. Four boats have been sold and an estimated 20 are due to be custom built.