Advanced composites with Kevlar and Carbon fabric components offer a tensile strength many times higher than the tensile strength of aluminium. This allows a weight-optimised design providing maximum structural performance, which in Hovercraft design allows increased payloads and maximum vessel performance.
This high strength to minimal weight ratio of composite materials is an established fact and has been used to great advantage in leading technologies such as the aircraft industry and professional racing car design where the shift from aluminium to advanced composites was made already in the mid nineteen seventies.
The tensile strength of aluminium is lower than the tensile strength of advanced composites. More aluminium has to be used to achieve the same strength and stiffness of a given structure.
Due to the potential loss of tensile strength following thermal repair by welding damaged sections an additional safety factor should be applied which in turn require even more additional aluminium material.
US Coast Guard warns from the use of Aluminium in Hovercraft. Read excerpt ...