Glass fiber reinforced plastic boat hulls are a recent innovation but they have proved to be very effective in creating lighter, faster boats. Almost all fishing boats in the Dover Bass area prefer to use grp boat hulls as it makes bass fishing in the shallow Dover waters easy, simple and fast. We've created a short guide to GRP hulls and how they've influenced Dover Bass Fishing.
History Of Composite Use In Boats
Traditionally boat hulls were made with wood, wood and metal combinations or plastic. Over time, ferrocement became the material of choice. This was extensively used to make boat hulls by making a metal frame and then building the boat hull of ferrocement around the steel framework. Although this was the earliest form of composite material, it did have its own drawbacks. The cement was corrosive and very heavy and it could not resist the humid aggressive marine environment. GRP was first introduced during the Second World War. An accidental inclusion of glass into the molten plastic led to the discovery of glass reinforced polymer plastic which was then used in several industries. Now different types of polymers are available for boat building, but GRP has turned out to be the most popular composite used in non-magnetic hulls to create lightweight craft.
How are GRP Hulls Made?
The glass used to make GRP hulls is usually a calcium-alumina-borosilicate that is mostly acidic in nature. Molten glass is converted into fibers by running liquid glass through a special machine. Each filament is about 9 microns to 15 microns in diameter and the filaments are dressed with a special emulsion and then combined together to form bunches. These bunches are then combined with polymer to make a tensile material that can be made into a super strong material. The long fibers make the composite material stronger but fluid enough to mold into any hull shape required.
Pros and Cons of GRP Hulls
Almost all fiberglass hulls have flotation foam sandwiched in-between the hull layers to ensure waterproofing and buoyancy. The material can also be repaired quite easily even if it is damaged with long gashes in the hull. Fiberglass can be sprayed into a mold and used to make additional accessories for a particular GRP hull. As the GRP hull can be molded easily into a reversed-chine hull, it can plow through water quickly as compared to aluminum hull. Originally, the GRP material caused reverse osmosis problems but this problem has been resolved and GRP hulls are no longer a problem. Some boats are still made with aluminum hulls but it is difficult to weld and the rivets can leak causing long term problems. For special reasons, aluminum hulls are used in some boats and they are value for money.
Now times, have changed and boat hulls are uniformly manufactured with GRP hulls. The hulls did have their problems in the form of osmosis problems. However, these have been solved and it is not possible to have a full-craft made from the super strong but lightweight materials.