Case Study: Formula Bonds Revolutionary New Composite Stringer with Plexus Adhesives

Traditional construction methods for high-performance boats use plywood eggcrate and heavy glass epoxy laminate within the hull structure to provide the power, rigidity, security, and ride qualities needed for extreme speed over the water.

Thunderbird Products of Decatur, IN, builder of Formula Boats, has come up with a labor-saving alternative to this type of plywood construction. Several Formula models now use a glass fiber/epoxy structural grid which is bonded to the inside of the hull using Plexus “Fiberglass Fusion” Adhesives.

Pat Laux, Product Development Manager for Thunderbird, claims the grid within the FAS3Tech multiplane hull increases hull bottom strength by 20% and side strength by 10%, with no additional weight or labor.

Thunderbird chose the advanced methacrylate adhesives because they eliminate the surface preparation and priming required with urethane-based adhesives.

“We did considerable testing of the glued-in-place grid to verify the strong impact resistance, long-term fatigue resistance, and water resistance properties of the adhesives,” Laux says. “Our testing more than proved the new design. The Plexus-bonded composite grid is a substantially stronger joint and, in conjunction with Formula’s new “stepped” hull design, results in a boat that goes 4 to 7 mph faster and rides with less pitch and more stability than a boat with conventional deep-V hull construction.”

Formula also notes that Plexus Adhesives absorb impact stresses, reduce wave-induced torsional forces, and produce a substantially stronger boat.

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