Plain Sailing with Thermhex

Here Panel Systems looks at how Thermhex can reduce weight and emissions in marine vessels, large and small.

“Shipping currently accounts for 2-3% of global greenhouse gas emissions, but according to research conducted by the United Nations in 2014, increasing trade could up the sector’s carbon footprint by as much as 250% by 2050. In addition, if it was looked at in comparison to a country then it would be the globe’s seventh biggest emitter.

The marine industry is working hard to reduce the harmful effects caused by shipping. In fact, for many years The World Shipping Council and its members have been engaged in numerous efforts to reduce CO2, improve efficiency, and are working to secure a global agreement addressing CO2 emissions from ships through the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).

However, when looking at the industry as a whole, it is important to remember that it is not just the large cargo ships that pose a big problem. Smaller vessels like fishing boats and yachts often have a negative impact on the environment; from causing high levels of water pollution to damaging marine life and also emitting masses of harmful CO2 into the atmosphere and our waters.

Reducing the weight of boats in order to lower the level of emissions is therefore a key area of focus for many engineers and boat builders. Lighter vessels obviously use less fuel, which is why the industry is constantly on the lookout for materials that are light in weight, but equally as strong as traditional materials used inside and outside of the boat.

Honeycomb core

Increasing in popularity within the marine industry is Thermhex, an innovative material manufactured from polypropylene honeycomb that offers a weight saving of up to 85%, compared with materials such as plywood.

The material is ideal for a number of marine applications including doors, cockpit bottoms, internal fittings, furniture and furniture components, sound abatement, reinforcement of decks and decking panels and even structural or decorative bulkheads.

Building parts of the boat with Thermhex can not only reduce its weight by tonnes, which in turn reduces the level of fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, but it can also make it safer. Bumping a boat, occasionally, is unavoidable and lighter knocks shouldn’t cause too much damage, but over time the panels can start to crack.

Unlike traditional boat building materials, where cracks can spread rapidly, if the boat has Thermhex as its core the material, it will stop the split from extending further, due to its unique construction.

In summary

In many types of boat from sailing boats and state-of-the-art super yachts right through to cruise liners, honeycomb core panels are increasingly being used to meet expected high performance levels.

Boat components made from composite panels with Thermhex offer strength and durability in addition to significant weight savings.

Manufactured in Germany in an innovative, patented process which ensures rigidity in terms of its mechanical strength, as well as stability, Thermhex is resistant to chemicals and moisture. In addition as part of ensuring ethical and sustainable sourcing of materials, it is also 100% recyclable.

The material can be purchased in a standard sheet of 2500mm x 1200mm, or we can supply bespoke sizes up to a maximum of 7000mm in length. Thermhex is supplied in thicknesses ranging from 3.5mm to 30mm and is also available in different core densities to suit specific applications.

At our two manufacturing plants in Yorkshire, we have the latest laminating & CNC equipment that gives us the ability to manufacture bespoke sandwich panels with Thermhex as the core. We can also machine Thermhex panels to bespoke shapes.”

For further information, or to receive a quote for Thermhex, email sales@panelsystems.co.uk or call 01909 774914.

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