Carbon fiber is an ideal material for ships to reduce hull vibration, maintain a good environment for wireless communication to/from ships, and so on.
Utilization of carbon fiber is making progress in the field of boats, yachts, large vessels and other ships. The most important reason for using carbon fiber is that this material improves speed or fuel economy by way of reducing weight. For example, hull weight can be reduced by approx. 30% if entirely made of CFRP, not GFRP.
Ships traditionally used glass fiber composite materials (GFRP), and since the forms of textile and other intermediate base materials used by GFRP and their forming methods are close to those applicable to CFRP, GFRP-made ship parts can be easily replaced with CFRP counterparts. While epoxy resin is used in most aircraft and sports applications, the majority of ship applications use unsaturated polyester or vinyl ester resin due to their historical use of GFRP. Accordingly, carbon fibers offering greater bonding strength with vinyl ester resin have been developed and utilized in a wide range of ship applications.
Not only CFRP has high specific strength and high modulus of elasticity, CFRP's vibration damping performance can be utilized, as well, to raise the natural vibration frequency (resonance point) of the hull, while reducing the hull vibration caused by engine and auxiliaries operations, by using CFRP where the engine and auxiliaries (pump, etc.) are mounted. Furthermore, CFRP's conductivity can be utilized to enclose the walls of the wireless communication room with carbon fiber composite material, for example, to achieve shielding effect of 40 dB or more. This means that, while CFRP transmit electromagnetic waves and may therefore interfere with clear radio communications to/from ships, there are solutions to these problems.
Also, hybrid composite materials combining carbon fiber with glass fiber or aramid fiber textile, etc., are used in large quantities on ships. CFRP is used in increasingly more design applications to achieve the target performance/cost, through optimal design with composite materials, such as using conventional glass fiber composite materials and applying carbon fiber only in those areas requiring rigidity.