Better Wingmasts

Back in 1994 I had an idea that if you took the shear web out of a wing mast,  and added that material to the sides, you would have better section properties, and a stiffer wing mast,  with no increase in weight. And the panel aspect ratios would be closer to 1:1 so stronger actually.
In fact few alum masts have shear webs, but everybody forgets that.

First of all, I built two nearly identical wing masts; one with shear web and the other with the half of each shear web glued to each side .  Then I load tested them.  The improvement was remarkable.

Next I had Paul Steinert PE run a finite element study of the idea.  The results were so good that we wrote a technical paper together on it.  The paper was given and published at the 1994 MACM marine composites conference.

The paper had some difficulty later getting online however.  Word5 for DOS had a great equation writing feature.  The file would however completely  lock up any later  windows version of word.  Also, the images were slides of photos of the computer screen.  Those took some work to get digital.  Meanwhile I got busy and neglected that paper.  Recently I have realized that nobody has any idea what I am talking about without this paper being able to be online.  So, along with everthing else, I will get it into InDesign and make it available.

Meanwhile here are some of the graphics that will be in it.

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Old style stainless hound for a big catamaran
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Preferred composite hound base.
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Athwartships displacement study under load.
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von Mises stress study.

4 thoughts on “Better Wingmasts”

  1. Hi Kurt – I’ve been designing and FE analysing wing masts for over 25 years and agree that the shear web is superfluous in terms of engineering benefit. It is useful as a construction aid for bent plywood or timber etc. Regards Peter S carbon-works

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