Aluminium vs Steel

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Wynand N, Dec 3, 2004.

  1. larper
    Joined: Mar 2006
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    Location: Sweden

    larper Junior Member

    Me and my wife flipped our steel 60ftr with tree comalongs and a hydraulic jack. no expense. Were almost done with superstructure by now and we’ve cut all plates so far with 125 and 180mm anglegrinder thickest plate so far are 8mm. over my head we’ve used about 200 180mm disks at a price of 1,5usd each. We both work fulltime so we´ve been building boat about 19months on our free time. I.e. weekends and holidays besides spending time with our 7yo daughter.

    My point is. Its very much possible to build a boat outta steel with what many of you have at home. No big expenses besides the material itself, and steel are cheaper than alloy. Steel are easier to weld (imho). Bits and pieces are readily available in the scrapyard I mean. Go there and pickup a piece of steel and make what you want out of it without really care what type of steel it is. Choose with care tho.. ;) .

    The project

    Just a few cents from me :)

    -- Per Larsson / sweden
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2006
    1 person likes this.
  2. MikeJohns
    Joined: Aug 2004
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    Location: Australia

    MikeJohns Senior Member

    larper

    Welcome. I agree steel is the most forgiving of all boat building materials which makes it a very good material for the home builder

    Please post some pictures of your project. Many folks here would be interested to see your progress. Perhaps to the gallery assigned to you or to your own thread.

    Cheers

    Cheesecutter
    All materials have their advantages and disadvantages. Small boats are very suitable for alloy construction, larger vessels need some carefull design wrt fatigue loads, and will often need additional stiffening, you also need much larger sections to get the required frame and stringer stiffness. Alloy is a much harder material to repair.

    Cheers
     
  3. hiracer
    Joined: Jun 2006
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    Location: Puget Sound, Washington, USA

    hiracer Senior Member

    As a non-designer and merely a user, I like the fact that steel broadcasts its corrosion, while aluminum I understand is more secretive.
     
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  4. ssnoopys
    Joined: Sep 2007
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    Location: sila

    ssnoopys Junior Member

    Hi buddy,
    Acoording to me Steel is better building material for cruising sail boats.For detail informatin you mind sharing that on splashvision.com.
     
  5. brian eiland
    Joined: Jun 2002
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    Location: St Augustine Fl, Thailand

    brian eiland Senior Member

    Not exactly a labortory test, but effective

    I just started reading thru this older subject thread, interesting discussions.

    And I thought this simple 'unofficial test' was quite illustrative. ;)
     
  6. brian eiland
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    Location: St Augustine Fl, Thailand

    brian eiland Senior Member

    I recall a very nice looking 51' alum cat welded up in alum in Thailand a few years ago, and I think it was an 'experienced yard'. Long story short, it had to be redone because of faulty welding. I've forgotten the details, but I will look them up later.

    PS: And I wonder about that 'porosity' in the welds? Could it be effected by another problem i'll bring up soon?
     
  7. brian eiland
    Joined: Jun 2002
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    Location: St Augustine Fl, Thailand

    brian eiland Senior Member

    Mercury Contamination of Aluminium

    A long time ago (hi-school and/or college days) I worked in a metallurgical laboratory at a military base. One experiment that was being carried out by a senior staff member was the method of how mercury metal was able to infiltrate the atomic structure of aluminum, subsequently weakening it greatly. He was utilizing x-ray diffraction methods along with hi-speed cameras to record this infiltration. I provided a third hand at times.

    The reason I bring this up is I have often wondered how this contamination of aluminum by mercury might play out in our ocean environment between our alum ship structures and the reported big increase with mercury in our sea waters and fish??

    A quick search on the internet produced some warnings about not carrying ANY mercury containing items (thermometers, batteries, etc) onboard alum airplanes (and boats I would imagine).
     
  8. brian eiland
    Joined: Jun 2002
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    Location: St Augustine Fl, Thailand

    brian eiland Senior Member


  9. dskira

    dskira Previous Member

    I agree with Sean Herron. It is a good explanation.
     
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