Flax could herald a greener future
15 October 2019
Research into the beneﬁcial properties of ﬂax as a reinforcement in laminate production and using the naturally grown material in superyacht construction is well advanced at Baltic Yachts.
Flax is an environmentally friendly, naturally grown crop which can be used as a reinforcement in a resin matrix with similar and, in some respects, better properties than those of other materials.
Now we are exploring ways of using it in superyacht construction to make our products greener and to cut raw material costs.
We’re also investigating the material’s sound deadening properties which could enable us to reduce the use of insulation and in turn reduce weight.
Research shows ﬂax is a green and versatile material and we are working hard at ﬁnding ways of introducing it and beneﬁtting from its properties in superyacht construction.
Pekka Laurila, who is heading up the research into ﬂax at Baltic Yachts, is working with specialist company Bcomp who have evolved the use of ﬂax and worked out how to spin the ﬁbres to take maximum advantage of their mechanical properties.
For yacht construction, ﬂax as a reinforcement would be ideally suited to cable tray mouldings, partly because of the lack of conductivity, and there are great advantages in interior panelling, shelves, ﬂoorboard panels and support construction.
The use of ﬂax could also reduce maintenance by using it in place of wood for superstructure cladding, for instance. Clear-coated ﬂax can be made to closely resemble a timber ﬁnish and wouldn’t need to be re-varnished every year.
We have decided to implement ﬂax in our production this coming autumn in non-structural applications and as we gain experience we will apply it in other areas.