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post #4 of Old 07-23-2006
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: MS Gulf Coast
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Don't look now, but we're entering the age of carbon fiber. There are no absolutes in the strength area. I remember seeing a program about WWII and one of the many storms the US Navy encountered. In one such storm, one of the ships, a destroyer I believe, was his by a couple stout waves, then slammed by an even meaner wave. The last wave totally knocked the forward bow section off. I don't mean 3 or 4 feet, but more like 30 feet, including airtight compartments (which actually kept it afloat, allowing retrieval and re-attachment a few days later). Points being, while steel doesn't fatigue under normal conditions the way aluminum does, it can still be stressed beyond design tolerances. Toss in a bad weld, some get the picture. Any material has good and bad. Any material can be over-stressed to failure, and any material (well, except carbon fiber) can be used with relatively moderate expense if you're the one doing the work. If you're building a minesweeper, go with wood, an icebreaker, go with steel. Gulf Coast shrimp boat...wood. Sailboats? Your choice. Regardless, you have to take care of them.
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