Reinforcing Fabrics

Glass fabrics are available in a wide variety of styles and weights. The types most commonly used in composite boat construction are Unidirectionals, Biaxials, Double Bias and Plain Weave cloth.

Chopped Strand Matt (CSM): A thick matting of short chopped fibres held together in a binder. CSM is commonly used in production boats with polyester resin. It builds up thickness very quickly but absorbs a lot of resin and has a very low strength to weight ratio.

CSM is rarely used in one-off composite boats except for moulding components or bonding where other glass types will not lay easily.

Plain Weave Cloth (PW): Plain Weave Cloth has woven fibres of equal weight at Os/90s to the roll length. It is commonly used for surfboards and boat sheathing and is a simple and economical fabric for providing a barrier to the weather for exterior surfaces on timber boats.It is also used as a structural laminate on small boats of composite construction, Commonly available in 200g and 330g weights. (6oz. and 10oz.)

Double Bias (DB): A knitted fabric with the fibres at 45s/45s to the roll length. It is also sometimes knows as 45s/45s Biaxial. Double Bias is often used for shear webs and 45s laminates in strip planking. Commonly available in weights of 300g (8oz.) and heavier.

Biaxial (Biax.): A knitted fabric with the fibres on two different axis, usually either Os/90s, or 45s/45s to the roll length. Commonly available in weights of 400g (12oz.) and heavier.

Triaxial (Triax.): A knitted fabric with fibres on three different axis. Triaxials are commonly available in weights of 750 and 1200g/m2 and are generally employed for foam/glass construction of boats larger than 12 metres. Triaxials can be more difficult to wet out than biaxial and double bias fabrics and sometimes difficult to drape where there is compound curvature.

Unidirectionals: There are basically two types of Unidirectionals. The first is a woven fabric with the majority of the fibres in one axis (commonly 60%:40%). This type if Uni is used for strip planking with the majority of fibre weight at 90s to the planking and is commonly found in 200g o 330g weights (6oz. to I Ooz.). The second type is the 'pure uni2 where the fibres are all at Os and are bound together with tapes or light stitching at regular intervals. This type of uni is used for structural areas with large stress concentrations such as multihull cross beam flanges, or chainplate reinforcing. Commonly available in 400g, 800g and 900g (12,24 and 27oz.).


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