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Sails reinforced with fibres placed in directions where greatest forces are applied

Since the acquisition and integration of Incidence Technologies in 2013, Incidence has had its own design office and produces its own membranes, from R&D to the finishing touches.

With this capacity for analysis, testing and production, Incidence sailmakers are now complete masters of the entire process of the design and manufacture of its sails: from R&D to the finishing touches.

This ability has been a key offering for two years and means it can now unveil DFi its new filamentary membrane.

Sails reinforced with fibres placed in directions where greatest forces are applied

A continuous quest for the sails of the future
The development of DFi is the first major innovation of the Incidence Technologies team. Part of the design office is continuing to explore evry possible way to further optimise DFI and adapt it to all offshore racing boats, as well as long-distance cruising yachts.
The other members of the design office continue the background research work. Their work is based on aerodynamics and finite element modeling software, with wind tunnel testing. These studies and analyses complement each other and enable them to improve and project the sails of the future.

Incidence membranes
Incidence is the only French sailmaker to produce its own membranes, internally: 100% home made, by experts.

Membrane D4
The D4 membrane is designed to meet the performance requirements, but also keeps shape and lightness. In one design as on super or maxi yachts, the D4 meets the expectations of all sailors, but ocean sailors also prefer the reliability, and the look of this membrane.

The D4 technology was acquired by Groupe Incidence in 2013 and has been developed by Incidence Technologies for nearly two years.

Sails are never subjected to consistent tension. It is on this basis that the principle of the D4 was developed, consisting of fibres placed where the greatest forces are applied to the sail. The draftsman determines the placement of these fibres depending on the forces that will be applied on the sail during navigation. Additionally he will choose which components and fibres are the most suitable for the membrane (carbon, aramid, Dyneema, Vectran) according to the sailing programme taking place, and will combine films or taffetas of varying thickness, always depending on the sailing specifications.

The films are put on the floor in order to apply the fibres, and are covered with an adhesive film. A machine with a placement head that can hold up to 18 fibres places the pre-glued fibres, which are then dried.

Next, a second film is placed on top to complete a “sandwich”, which is then vacuum sealed, heated and subjected to several tons of weight. This rolling process creates the durability of the membrane.

Finally, the sail then goes through a ten day drying process, at which stage it acquires its dimensional hold.

Membrane D4®

Membrane DFi
The Incidence Technologies team has sicceeded in developing a new material: DFi.

This filamentary membrane is made of pre-impregnated composite strips laid out along very precise non-parallel lines to carry the primary and secondary loads exerted on the sail during sailing. The pre-impregnated strips are laid and laminated on a flat table. They are vacuum and then hot pressed (under more than 6 bars of pressure), and then joined together with a recyclable, solvent-free thermoplastic resin.

As with the D4 Premium, the membrane is manufactured in a single operation. It is then shaped on the floors of the Incidence sail lofts.

Membrane DFi®

Membrane DF panneau

  • DF panel

The DF panel follows the same manufacturing process as the DFi membrane but instead of orienting the tapes made to measure according to the programme of the sail to be made, it is produced in panels and the inclinations given to the pre-impregnated composite strips are the same over the entire surface of these panels.
This makes it possible to obtain a material which benefits excellent technical characteristics of shape hold, lightweight and durability which is easy to manufacture.

  • DF Radial 

For the DF-Radial, the panels consist of symmetrically arranged composite tapes. These panels are then cut into widths, used to make downwind sails. This lightweight yet robust material with excellent shape holding capacity is easy to work with and enables the volumes of the sail to be defined precisely.

DF Radial

  • DF Cross-cut

For the DF Cross-cut, the panels consist of asymmetrically arranged composite tapes. Some tapes are oriented to respond to the loads of the sheet, others respond to the loads of the tack. Directions with little load are less well covered to optimise the weight of the sail.

DF Cross-cut

DF Cross cur has twin benefits: :
– an adequate answer to load paths on the sail (close tape angles on the high stress areas such as the luff and the leech, wider tape angles on the low stress areas such as the middle oh the sail),
– an optimisation of the layout in order to reduce the general weight of the sail.

Companies: Incidence Sails

Industries: Marine Transportation and Shipbuilding

Terms: Applications, Business, News Worldwide

This article has been edited by Basalt.Today
This article has been written on JEC Composites Magazine
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