Olympic rowing boat features carbon-reinforced fabric
Specialty Fabrics Review | August 2012
While world-class athletes are the central focus of London’s 2012 Summer Olympic games, innovations in clothing and equipment help athletes go farther and faster in competition. The Dutch Rowing Federation and Olympic Team Netherlands tapped into the material expertise of DSM, Heelen, The Netherlands, to build a rowing boat that would power past other crews. DSM partnered with racing boat builder Empacher of Eberbach, Germany, using OXeon TeXtreme® Spread Tow carbon-reinforced fabric and its own styrene-free Turane resins to create a composite skin that is lighter and stiffer than other rowing boat materials.
The Olympic Holland 8, an eight-man boat used by Dutch men’s and women’s teams, debuted at the London Olympics. As the team rows, it exerts tremendous force on the boat’s hull, deforming it and reducing rowing speed. The resin-carbon fabric composite material increases hull rigidity by approximately 25 percent. The carbon fiber alignment in TeXtreme provides a thinner profile, so the composite includes less resin and therefore weighs less, giving rowers another advantage. The Turane resins, manufactured without harmful styrene fumes, also meet the sustainability objectives of the international rowing federation, FISA, one of which is clean water.