GRP Barge

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by The Travel Writer, Jan 16, 2018.

  1. The Travel Writer
    Joined: Jan 2018
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    Location: Southampton

    The Travel Writer Junior Member

    Hi and thanks for allowing me to post on this forum.

    I am considering building a 50 by 11 foot GRP barge that will eventually become my home on the Norfolk Broads UK.

    I have searched and there is nothing out there that will fit my requirements of a very well insulated hull (6 inches of insulation) so I have a simple question that I would like to discuss with you boat designers and builders who I acknowledge have considerable more knowledge and ability than myself.

    Is it possible to build a GRP barge like hull 150mm thick using Dow Styrofoam RTM-X as a core material?

    What and how many layers of fibreglass would be best to apply on both the outside and inside surfacers?

    Thanks
     
  2. ondarvr
    Joined: Dec 2005
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    Location: Monroe WA

    ondarvr Senior Member

    Building a barge with 6" foam walls isn't a problem, you'll need to hire someone to tell you exactly how to build it, but you'll need to supply that person with far more information than just 50' X 11'.
     
  3. Ad Hoc
    Joined: Oct 2008
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    Location: Japan

    Ad Hoc Naval Architect

    Welcome to the forum TTW

    If you want advice and assistance in building your boat in GRP...i can highly recommend a colleague of mine. He is local too...on the IoW.
     
  4. rwatson
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    Location: Tasmania,Australia

    rwatson Senior Member

    The usual route is to build that size in steel, and insulate inside, from both price and strength.

    Is there a reason that this wouldn't work ?
     
  5. The Travel Writer
    Joined: Jan 2018
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    Location: Southampton

    The Travel Writer Junior Member

    Hi and thanks for your info. My reason for asking is to build up some knowledge before I find a professional. I appreciate that there are many stages to building a vessel like this.

    For the moment I would like some idea of how thick the fibreglass needs to be, the weight and types. e.g. mat followed by woven followed by mat etc. How would a professional layer up the hull.
     
  6. The Travel Writer
    Joined: Jan 2018
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    Location: Southampton

    The Travel Writer Junior Member

    I have been looking at this option but there is a question about the quality of the steal being used in new builds here in the UK. Indeed, I went to one well known builder who builds many wide beams and they refused to tell me where the steal comes from. Some barge owners are experiencing problems within 10 years and having to replace or repair the hull.
     
  7. The Travel Writer
    Joined: Jan 2018
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    Location: Southampton

    The Travel Writer Junior Member

    Hi and thanks. It would be very helpful to have someone to talk my design over with.
     
  8. ondarvr
    Joined: Dec 2005
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    Location: Monroe WA

    ondarvr Senior Member

    There is no standard laminate, the person you hire hire will ask you many questions, the answers to those questions will determine the exact foam and amount of glass on each side.
     
  9. Ad Hoc
    Joined: Oct 2008
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    Location: Japan

    Ad Hoc Naval Architect

    If you can send me a private message with your email address, I shall get my colleague to contact you directly.
     
  10. ExileMoon
    Joined: Oct 2009
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    Location: Shanghai

    ExileMoon Junior Member

    I think your data looks like a problem.

    Perhaps in the Antarctic, 150mm foam is needed to make the insulation.

    According to the British climate, under normal circumstances 2 inches(50mm) after the foam has been enough to cope with the general situation, and 3 inches(75mm) have been very good to deal with various situations.

    The thickness of glass fiber and insulation capacity has little to do, you can think approximately that it does not have the ability to heat.
    The glass fiber is mainly determined by the structural strength. 50 feet boat 0.5 inch thick enough, if your craft is relatively poor, then choose 1 inch thick will be more reliable.

    There is no need to use fiberglass inside walls, generally with cheaper materials such as plywood. This layer is mainly used to protect the foam material from human activities (such as stampede) damage. Generally only laid on the floor. Wall and ceiling to do a very simple treatment can be.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2018
  11. bajansailor
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Location: Barbados

    bajansailor Marine Surveyor

    It might seem to be relatively simple because it is just a barge, but it would still be worthwhile (and cheaper in the long run) to get a design that is proven to work, rather than trying to come up with one of your own.
    Eric Sponberg is now retired (he has gone off sailing), but he describes his thoughts re houseboats here - www.ericwsponberg.com/boat-designs/houseboats/

    And Simon Rogers in Lymington has a design for a very nice houseboat here -
    www.rogersyachtdesign.com/
    Scroll down to 'Past Projects' and then scroll to 'Waterspace PLC'.
    Although sadly the Waterspace link provided does not seem to work anymore.
     
  12. The Travel Writer
    Joined: Jan 2018
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    Location: Southampton

    The Travel Writer Junior Member

    Hi and thanks for the info it makes for some interesting reading. Due to the bridges on the Norfolk Broads neither design would be appropriate and I think they would both be outside of my budget.

    I think the Waterspace project is no longer going.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2018
  13. rwatson
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    Location: Tasmania,Australia

    rwatson Senior Member

    ah - now the important details come out. What IS the budget ? I suspect just the price of designing a GRP barge would put it out of reach.
     
  14. The Travel Writer
    Joined: Jan 2018
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    Location: Southampton

    The Travel Writer Junior Member

    Hi and thanks for your input.

    Not sure if you know that the Norfolk Broads is on the east coast of the UK and can be quite cold in winter with winds coming from the direction of Russia or northern polar cap at times. The problem with only 2 inches of insulation it is simply not enough and therefore you would require additional heating like a wood/coal burning stove or expensive portable gas. Due to new pollution controls that will soon be in place here in Europe wood/coal burning stoves may be made illegal so this is my reason for 6 inches of hull insulation.

    I agree that a possible design may be a fibreglass single outer hull with appropriate insulation on the inside and indeed this is what I would do if I purchase a hull and modify it.
     

  15. The Travel Writer
    Joined: Jan 2018
    Posts: 18
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    Location: Southampton

    The Travel Writer Junior Member

    Hi the UK inland waterways barge is not a complicated design being basically, a tank that moves with slightly more under the water than a normal boat, hence the need for heavy ballast. Nearly all steal UK barges follow the same design with just the difference at the stern. My problem rests with two points. The steal now used is of lower quality than previously used and therefore it requires greater and costly maintenance more frequently. Indeed, some vessels now require replating after only ten years.
    As you already know we Brits can be sometimes too traditional in our thinking and this is very much the case with barge building. New ideas are not always welcome on our inland waterways but design will have to change due to more strict laws on pollution and the possible ban of using diesel engines especially on the canals and rivers in cities.
     
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