Summer Kicks Off with Composites
Composite materials, like fiberglass, carbon fiber, and Kevlar, are built to stand up to tough outdoor conditions, including extreme temperatures, saltwater, swimming pool chemicals, and all the physical bumps and scratches that weekends at the lake can bring. So, it’s no wonder that composites show up everywhere throughout this traditional vacation season—in places you expect and in some applications that you might not.
As the summer heats up, more people are hitting the coast to take advantage of the surf. More people in the water means lifeguards take to their duties with life-saving equipment at the ready, including whistles, flotation devices, and—maybe very soon—drones.
Connecticut-based company Flying Robots has been making waves with drone technology designed to assist lifeguards with rescue capabilities. The company’s Bill Piedra has invented an inflatable life preserver attached to the bottom of a drone. The drone is designed to release the preserver near a potential drowning victim. Once the preserver hits the water, it automatically inflates.
While the drone cannot replace a lifeguard on duty, it has been designed to improve life-saving rescue situations. Drones are constructed using lightweight carbon fiber composites, enabling them to zip along at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour—that’s roughly 10 times faster than a lifeguard can swim, according to Piedra. Lifeguards can dispatch drones from the beach, deliver more immediate flotation assistance, then enter the water to complete the save. Every second is critical to a potential drowning victim.
Boat in a Bag
Would you rather hit the water this summer in a boat? Forget the hassle of hauling one to the lake and take a look at the Quickboat—maybe the most unique water vessel you’ve seen in a while.
The Quickboat is a fold-and-snap-together boat that comes complete in two bags (yes, bags). Made from lightweight composite materials, the Quickboat weighs in at just over 120 pounds. Bags can be carried easily by two people—even senior citizens and children—and assembled within minutes.
Patented “super hinges,” made from fiberglass and Kevlar®, snap into place, forming the rigid hull of the boat as it unfolds. The transom locks and swings into place. Seats, nosecone, and foredeck click into place.
The Quickboat will accommodate motors from two to 10 horsepower, and is licensed to seat up to four adults, each weighing up to 165 pounds.
This is a boat designed for fun and, more importantly, for convenience. Just strap it onto the top of the SUV (Quickboats are just at 12 feet long) and you’re set for cruising the lake or fishing. Lightweight composite materials make it possible. Take a more in-depth look at specifications and easy set-up demonstrations at the Quickboats website.
World’s Fastest Robotic Roach
No worries if this critter shows up to the summer picnic. He won’t eat much and he’ll be out of the way fast.
According to Composites Manufacturing Magazine online, researchers at UC Berkeley have used composites to create the world’s fastest robotic roach, the X2-VelociRoACH. The tiny robot, which is about four inches long and weighs just over an ounce, can travel almost 11 miles per hour. The legs on the VelociRoACH are made of fiberglass and the drive shaft is comprised of carbon fiber components. According to designers, 3-D printed parts were vital to the robot’s speed.
The Biomimetic Millisystems Lab at Berkley released a video showing the VelociRoACH facilitating the launch of an ornithopter micro-aerial vehicle known as the H2Bird. It’s a must see:
What are you making with composites this summer?
At Fibre Glast, we want to know. Send us a photo of your composite project—anything from university prototypes to fiberglass projects made in the garage.
We’re looking to create our 2015 Top 50 Customer Photos List and we’d love you to be a part of it! Click here for the easy how-to and let us know how Fibre Glast products were used in your project.
Photo courtesy of Lawrence-Michael Custom Homes, Houston, Texas