TeXtreme® in Olympic rowing boat

2012-06-07 | Sporting Goods


DSM has been working with the Dutch Olympic Team, applying their material expertise in order to make the best rowing boat possible for the London Olympics 2012. To achieve this they turned to TeXtreme® Spread Tow Fabrics as the choice of carbon reinforcement. The result is a faster boat as a direct consequence of reduced weight and increased stiffness.

Edwin Hendriks, Project Manager Building, Infrastructure and Sport at DSM comments:  "To improve the performance of the Dutch Olympic rowing boat, we used TeXtreme® carbon fabric in combination with DSM’s styrene-free Turane resins. The interaction between these two is exceptionally strong. This resulted in an increased rigidity (25% more stiffness) and a lower weight of the boat, allowing for a different construction that increased the stiffness even more. The new boat deforms less in the water at every powerful stroke of the rowers, and as such can better maintain its speed."

In the months leading up to London 2012, DSM applied their expertise in materials on improving the boats for the Dutch rowing teams. DSM cooperated with the Dutch Rowing Federation and the Olympic Team Netherlands in developing this special eight man rowing boat “Olympic eight”.

Clearly one of the key elements of any rowing race is having the best boat, it is a vital component for any crew with ambitions. Building on their experience from previous Olympic innovations such as the 470-class sailing boat for Beijing 2008, DSM partnered with German boat builder Empacher. By using each other’s strengths together with the unique mechanical properties of TeXtreme®, they developed the best boat possible.

Using DSMs Turane resins, one important goal was to improve the stiffness of the boat, making it better equipped to handle the rigors of a race. By combining it with TeXtreme® Spread Tow carbon fiber fabrics the stiffness of the hull has been increased up to 25%, reducing the energy loss of each stroke and thus increasing the speed.

The increased stiffness reduces the amount of energy that gets lost due to deformation of the hull, a common issue in the sport as the boats are not fully capable of withstanding the enormous amount of force unleashed by the crew during every single stroke. Reducing the deformation of the hull means that the crew can better build up and maintain speed.