Join Date: Jul 2000
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Re: Life Span of a Boat
Nice write up Jeff.
Some time ago you had made reference to USN studies of FRG hulls vs. long term fatigue endurance. Ive misplaced that URL reference ... any 'reminders' where to locate?
The ultimate problem for fiberglass, like any other 'plastic', is that its not a long term stable material if constantly stressed. The very definition of 'plastic' means that the material is subject to long term deformation, called 'creep'. In addition, the glass fibers used to strengthen are really not a 'true' solid but a visco-elastic 'hybrid liquid' with long term 'easy' deformation - an example would be: take a sheet of glass and 'lean' it against a wall at a large angle for several years and that glass plate after several years will be found to be 'bent' ... all by itself, due to the material quality called 'creep'.
So after a few hundred years, your prized boat will probably be approaching the shape of a 'large puddle' on the ground, simply through the action of gravity and the nature of 'plastic' and not a true 'elastic'. "Creepy", huh? ;-)