Volcanic fiber, scientifically more well-known as basalt fiber, is a revolutionary new material in the sailing world. Extra strength without excess weight, durability without toxicity, and a low environmental impact in the manufacturing process are all factors that make volcanic fiber the ideal material for an Arctic ready race boat.
FIPOFIX is an Austrian boat design company spearheading the development of volcanic fibre ocean sailing yachts. In early 2014 a prototype called the Open16 finished its singlehanded ‘proof of concept’ journey across the Atlantic non-stop from Europe to North America and back for a total trial distance of 10,000 nautical miles. The mini met some of the most challenging conditions the North Atlantic could throw at it, and kept skipper Harald Sedlacek safe for the entire duration of the journey. Based on the success of the Open16, FIPOFIX is designing the STAR46. This volcanic basalt fiber race machine will launch a new one-design class, ready to safely take sailing teams through Arctic conditions to the podium.
Here at Smarter Building Systems we recently had samples of our basalt fabrics laid up with a Crestapol Resin by Scott Bader company with impressive results – very light with a beautiful glossy finish, amazing flexibility and very strong. They make these resins for marine grade applications. We also made panels with epoxy resins, they too were incredibly strong with a super finish.
Basalt fabric can be used to build the yacht’s mold. Even if carbon fiber is the desired final material why pay more for the mold when basalt does not have measurable movement, does not conduct electricity, and saves a ton of money. Easy to work with, Basalt fabric cuts and wets easily and is inert, safe and recyclable.
Basalt fibers have a TEN TIMES better electrical insulation value than fiberglass. They take extreme high and low temperatures and will not harbor bacterial or microbial growth while being UV immune, salt tolerant and these fibers do not wick water badly like fiberglass. Much better impact (18% better elastic modulus).
We look forward to marine industry builders using basalt materials in future projects.