Laid Skirts

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Laid Skirts

Most SES & ACV skirt systems are assembled like clothing: by stitching together (or otherwise mechanically fastening) an assembly of different fabrics to get the needed collection of strengths, thicknesses, etc.

But what if skirts could be laid-up similar to the way FRP hulls are built? Different amounts of fiber can be placed in different areas, and the fibers can be optimally oriented to the stress axes.

Practically, this would require a mold, and would require an elastomer matrix that can be applied ‘wet’ and cured after assembly, perhaps by UV or autoclave cure.

The laid skirt need not use raw fibers and pots of elastomers any more than do modern yacht hulls. Instead the fiber / elastomer system might be delivered as a pre-preg tape or ribbon, multiple layers of which are placed in the mold, vacuum-bagged, and then cured.

The result of this hypothetical process will be a skirt system that is devoid of seams except where they are necessary. Where seams are needed (e.g. at a finger cuff joint) the fabric itself can be internally reinforced to take the point loads due to bolting. Away from these point loads the fibers can be spread optimally and uniformly, and the fabric can be given the minimum optimum thickness and weight. The fabric thickness can vary across the span of the tissue, so that (for example) the sides of the fingers (where they touch each other) are thin while the finger leading edge is thick where it bears the full cushion pressure.

The result may be a lighter-weight, more compliant skirt system.

Note that this type of construction is now being used in yacht sails, see: http://www.doylesails.co.nz/products/stratis/design.html

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