Case Study: Passing the Torch
The London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony powerboat was fabricated using structural adhesives.
The now world-famous powerboat that was driven up the Thames by David Beckham to bring the Olympic flame to the London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony was a Bladerunner BR RIB 35. This unique British fiberglass powerboat was designed and manufactured by ICE Marine Ltd. and fabricated using Scott Bader Crystic® products. The craft’s heritage and racing design pedigree comes from Lorne Campbell, ICE Marine’s chief naval architect, and the 1995 two-liter Powerboat World Champion and Managing Director Jeremy Watts, who was also the Bladerunner driver during the torch handover part of the opening ceremony event.
Functionality and Form
Bladerunner powerboats are individually handbuilt to order by ICE Marine’s production team. They use both open-mold hand lay-up and vacuum bagging processes. The Bladerunner BR RIB35 laminate design uses a Lloyd’s-approved, Scott-Bader-matched marine system comprised of pigmented Crystic 65PA isophthalic gelcoats combined with Crystic 489PA isophthalic unsaturated polyester back-up resin.
ICE Marine has been using Crystic resins and gelcoats to make its high-performance powerboats for over 14 years. “We have been very impressed with the quality and performance reliability of Scott Bader products, which are also easy to use on the shop floor as they have excellent batch-to-batch consistency,” says Watts. “We know what we are getting every time.”
Depending on the Bladerunner model and specification required by a customer, laminate constructions use a combination of chopped strand matting, biaxial and unidirectional glass and carbon fiber fabrics, as well as DIAB’s Divinycell H80 and H100 PVC foam cores. Sandwich laminate sections are used extensively in the structural design of both the hull and deck.
Reliable product performance on the water in line with the demanding design specifications of a Bladerunner BR RIB 35 powerboat is critical. Fitted with either a 300- or 350-hp supercharged Mercury Verado outboard gasoline engine, speeds of up to 72-77 knots (82-88 mph) can be achieved, putting enormous pressure on the hull at top speed.
To achieve the highest long-term mechanical performance of the laminate sandwich structures in key stress areas, PVC foam cores are first primed using a light coating of catalyzed Crystic 489PA resin and then bonded in with Crystic Crestomer 1196PA, a low-density, gap-filling structural adhesive specially designed for core bonding. Vacuum bagging is used by ICE Marine, as recommended by Scott Bader, to ensure void-free adhesion and to maximize the penetration of the gap-filling structural adhesive around the PVC core material. The core bonding performance of Crestomer 1196PA has been well proven for many years by many other leading fiberglass boat builders, who also value the added benefit of improved hull and deck surface finish and reduced print-through by using Crestomer 1196PA for core bonding.
The Bladerunner series is founded on the desire to build a highly efficient, offshore-performance-focused powerboat that is able to offer significantly improved ride comfort and handling in open water at speed. This has been achieved by ICE Marine with its innovative “double-scoop” air entrapment monohull (AEM) design, which is used for all Bladerunner powerboats. This AEM monohull design was co-developed by Watts and Lorne Campbell, who has 30 years’ experience as a naval architect designing class-winning, high-performance powerboats and trimarans. Campbell’s designs have 100 race wins and 20 world and national championships.
About Scott Bader
Scott Bader was established in 1921. Today it is a $300 million multinational polymers company employing 600 people worldwide. It is a common trusteeship company, having no external shareholders, with a strong commitment to support its customers, workforce and the environment. Based in the UK, the company’s purpose-built, state-of-the-art technical facilities provide R&D as well as complete evaluation, testing and application support. The company has manufacturing facilities in the UK, France, Croatia, the Middle East and South Africa. For additional information, call (44) 1933-663100, email email@example.com, or visit www.scottbader.com or www.scottbaderinc.com.
For more information about ICE Marine Ltd., visit www.icemarine.com.