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Old 11-10-2016, 15:04   #1
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could you build a boat out of stainless?

Would it be possible to build a sailboat completely out of corrosion-proof stainless steel?
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Old 11-10-2016, 15:08   #2
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Re: could you build a boat out of stainless?

Sure, at what cost? And stainless isn't corrosion proof, unless you really spend on the grade of stainless.


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Old 11-10-2016, 15:11   #3
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Re: could you build a boat out of stainless?

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Sure, at what cost? And stainless isn't corrosion proof, unless you really spend on the grade of stainless.


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good point, but there are some rich, rich people in the world, and plenty of steel. I'm wondering why after all these years has it not happened?
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Old 11-10-2016, 15:15   #4
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Re: could you build a boat out of stainless?

A few Russians built a boat out of titanium that they scavenged from an abandoned helicopter plant...



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Old 11-10-2016, 15:32   #5
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Re: could you build a boat out of stainless?

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A few Russians built a boat out of titanium that they scavenged from an abandoned helicopter plant...



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A few Russians even built submarines out of Titanium too


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Old 11-10-2016, 15:34   #6
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Re: could you build a boat out of stainless?



The above boat, that I saw in Cape Town, has stainless steel decks. The hull is steel. I don't know if she is custom or part of a production run.
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Old 11-10-2016, 15:43   #7
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Re: could you build a boat out of stainless?

You absolutly can but it's a really stupid idea. There are a couple of places there are major problems.

1) Stainless only retains its corrosion resistance in areas where I has access to lots of free oxygen. So any standing or stagnant water will destroy it. Anywhere that something rests on the deck (like under deck hardware) becomes a major concern.

2) stainless that is submerged in salt water has a different electric potential than stainless in air. So the entire hull will suffer from massive galvanic corrosion (wet vs dry) and at the boundary line you will see lots of intergranular corrosion.

Al of these things can be generally contained, but it would take a massive amount of continuing work to keep it up. It's far easier to use mild steel and paint.


Titanium hulls are a completely different issue. It's an ideal material, but incredibly expensive and difficult to work in (for now). But if you don't care about cost there is a good argument to be made that it's a great option.
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Old 11-10-2016, 21:02   #8
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Re: could you build a boat out of stainless?

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The above boat, that I saw in Cape Town, has stainless steel decks. The hull is steel. I don't know if she is custom or part of a production run.
Someone went to all that expense and a DANFORTH type for a primary anchor?

:bi ggrin:
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Old 11-10-2016, 21:04   #9
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Re: could you build a boat out of stainless?

Wouldn't the stainless work harden over time and cause the hull to become brittle?
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Old 11-10-2016, 21:20   #10
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Re: could you build a boat out of stainless?

Here's a pretty good article that explains why stainless is bad for a hull. Maybe try inconel.

Metal Parts for Boats
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Old 11-10-2016, 21:22   #11
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Re: could you build a boat out of stainless?

Single piece all stainless steel hulls and decks are the next great revolution in pleasure boat building.


Computer controlled cutting and rolling mills will cut and firm full length longitudinal panels curved to within fractions of a millimetre and welding robots will then weld the seams. To add section modulus to the curved panels T section stiffening ribs will be robot welded internally. After installing the cable conduits urethane foam will be sprayed onto the internal surfaces of the hull which will then be hot wire trimmed to form a smooth surface to be spray coated to a smooth finish in the required colour. Etc etc etc.


Made to order production line boats with working lives of decades if not hundreds of years spewed out of factories in Asia or Africa for the masses.
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Old 11-10-2016, 21:46   #12
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Re: could you build a boat out of stainless?

The challenge 67 yachts had stainless steel decks with mild steel hulls. A good way to do it. I wouldn't want stainless underwater long term, but I guess if I had loads of money bare stainless topsides might be pretty neat, it would save you painting, but bare aluminium probably would be cheaper and better all around.

There was a hard chine yacht built way back from all stainless. I think they had cracking issues, but welding and stainless technology has improved since then.

The ideal would be cupronickel underwater, and stainless above... $$$

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Old 12-10-2016, 00:02   #13
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Re: could you build a boat out of stainless?

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Originally Posted by senormechanico View Post
Someone went to all that expense and a DANFORTH type for a primary anchor?

:bi ggrin:
My first thought too!
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Old 12-10-2016, 00:20   #14
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Re: could you build a boat out of stainless?

Stainless work hardens, So the continual movement back and forwards with the water against the hull will eventually crack it and make the panel fall out,
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Old 12-10-2016, 00:52   #15
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Re: could you build a boat out of stainless?

There have been boats made of cupronickel.
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