Aluminium or Glass and Foam Hull

Discussion in 'Materials' started by rivergybsy, Mar 17, 2015.

  1. rivergybsy
    Joined: Mar 2015
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    Location: Australia

    rivergybsy Junior Member

    I plan to build a houseboat/riverboat. About 8m long and 2.4m wide. I intend to build it very light with foam and glass. I know that this will be a very strong structure with minimal weight. I intend to use it in rivers and shallow waters and also would like to beach it occasionally. I am concerned about hitting rocks and the abrasion on the hull when I beach it. One idea is to fabricate the hull in aluminium, however, others have suggested a second layer of glass, Aramid or Teflon would give me similar protection.
    I favour aluminium because of its ability to deform rather than break. The disadvantage is cost and reparability if severely damaged.
    Foam and glass on the other hand is easy to repair, cost effective, but I have no idea how easily it is damaged.
  2. redreuben
    Joined: Jan 2009
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    redreuben redreuben

    Either/or but mixing them is a bad idea except perhaps in ally hull glass decks area, ally is noisy and can be subject to electrolysis. In a house boat foam core is probably overkill a cloth and coremat layup would be economical and adequate for the purpose. Use whatever you are more comfortable/familiar with and design accordingly. :)
  3. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    Can you quantify "minimal weight"? For example, density of the panel or weight per square meter.
  4. rivergybsy
    Joined: Mar 2015
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    Location: Australia

    rivergybsy Junior Member

    Thanks Gonzo

    No, I have looked at some products and I am open to suggestions. This is very early planing.

  5. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    What ever the plans you purchase suggests, should be the route you take. Redesigning or engineering a set of scantlings to suit, is beyond the grasp of the average backyard builder or budding designer. It's not that it can't be done, but it would be the very rare exception if you did.

    It sounds like you're attempting to self design the structure, which has it's own can of worms to contend with and if you have to ask these types of questions (if self designing), you're no place near being able to cope with the demands, of the realities of a 26' x8' houseboat, particularly if you want it light, stiff and strong. Simply put, most anyone can design a big barge that is stiff and strong. Some plywood and 2x4's and you're good to go (maybe), though if you want it to be light, you'll need to do the math and work up a set of scantlings to best advantage the material choices you've made. This is where the serious engineering comes to play.
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