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Arkema, Brunswick Build Fully Recyclable Fiberglass Boat

Thermoplastic liquid methyl methacrylate matrix resin is used as a composite material.

Stephen Moore

February 16, 2022

2 Min Read
Boston Whaler boat
Image courtesy of Boston Whaler

Brunswick Corp. is expanding its partnership with Arkema to develop a fully recyclable fiberglass boat that integrates Arkema’s Elium liquid thermoplastic resin on all the vessel’s composite parts, core, and adhesives. The project is part of Brunswick’s enterprise-wide sustainability program and is expected to allow for hull and structural components to be fully recycled at end of life and reintroduced into production processes, reducing the amount of disposable material and sourcing of virgin raw materials.

The first prototype is expected to be displayed at the 2022 Fort Lauderdale Boat Show, and will be developed in conjunction with Brunswick brand Boston Whaler, leveraging this brand’s unique construction to validate the technology.

Arkema’s Elium resin is particularly suited to the marine industry and the production of composite watercraft; in addition to being fully recyclable, it is specially adapted to the resin infusion process of large parts with a low viscosity, long reactivity, and a low exothermic reaction.

Elium 188 O and 188 XO grades typically used in fiberglass boat building are classified as liquid methyl methacrylates (MMAs). They can be processed by resin transfer molding (RTM), infusion, and pultrusion. Elium resins are also processed on similar equipment to that used today for thermoset composites, with similar polymerization cycle times and conditions.

The RTM process requires heating the consolidated part at 180 to 200°C for a few minutes and compressing it at a pressure between 5 and 20 bars, depending on the reinforcement type and thickness of the part.

“We are delighted to expand our partnership with Arkema, marking an exciting milestone in our sustainability journey. By combining next-generation materials with the legendary safety and durability of the Boston Whaler brand, we are ensuring we continue to meet boaters’ diverse and changing needs while reducing our environmental footprint,” said Kris Neff, Boston Whaler President.

“Elium resin is our solution for the new era of sustainable composites, [and] through our partnership with Brunswick and Boston Whaler, we’re helping to shape a more sustainable future and circular economy for the marine industry. This is fully aligned with Arkema’s commitment to develop innovative solutions tailored to support our customers in their quest for sustainable performance,” said Nicolas Valloir, Arkema Business Manager.

About the Author(s)

Stephen Moore

Stephen has been with PlasticsToday and its preceding publications Modern Plastics and Injection Molding since 1992, throughout this time based in the Asia Pacific region, including stints in Japan, Australia, and his current location Singapore. His current beat focuses on automotive. Stephen is an avid folding bicycle rider, often taking his bike on overseas business trips, and is a proud dachshund owner.

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