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DSM Composite Resins has developed technology that will optimise performance of the Dutch Olympic sailing team’s 470 class racing dinghy at this summer’s Beijing games.
The technique is being trialled to make the boats’ hulls stronger, lighter and more stable than ever before. DSM says that their technology increases the rigidity of the boat by 120%, makes it 200% stronger and reduces its weight by 2,5%. It says that it will also minimise energy loss for maximum speed and reduce swing, which could prove decisive in the short waves characteristic of the China coastal waters, where Olympic sailing will take place.
Over the past twelve months Dutch Olympic sailing team members Marcelien De Koning and Lobke Berkhout have been training intensively with a prototype of the new boat. ‘The new Olympic boat offers the best of two worlds: a perfectly moulded shape with exactly the right stiffness, which can bring speed benefits. This combination was previously not available. We are very glad we have the opportunity to sail this boat,”” said De Koning.
DSM’s engineers optimised the standard certified hull for the 470 class by adding the new special resin for extra stiffness and weight reduction in the polyester laminate. DSM used the new gelcoat Neogel Eco that reduced the weight in the coating layer with 15%. Neogel Eco is a low VOC gelcoat specially formulated to have 25% less styrene content than conventional formulations. Not only does this result in a healthier workshop environment but it also improves yield as less material is used and the styrene evaporation is less.
In addition, DSM created a special combination of glass fibre and polyester resin that makes the hull extremely stiff and strong. It then built up the laminate layers through the new application method to reduce swing.
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