Forums > Kitesurfing Foiling

Carbon vs Aluminium fuselages

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Created by Faff 5 months ago, 21 May 2018
Faff
VIC, 609 posts
21 May 2018 10:57AM
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I'm interested in getting my first windfoil. I've been told that windfoils are basically following kitefoil developments with a lag of of a couple of seasons. Right now all-carbon windfoils are all the rage. I really like the idea of having as few connections and screws as possible. But apparently single-piece (mast and fuselage) foils were all the rage in kitefoiling a few years ago, yet now everyone is switching to aluminium fuselages (and carbon everything else). Is this true? Coincidentally, the windfoil that is winning most races now has an aluminium fuselage (Starboard). Thanks for any tips.

RAL INN
VIC, 2565 posts
21 May 2018 11:20AM
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Letting carbon near Aluminium is a corrosion disaster waiting to happen.
probably a week after warranty runs out.
As in kite foiling, Racing and Freeride are two distinct tangents of development and relating the success or lack of in one to the other is of no value.
For freewindfoiling everything you need is delivered by the better designed Alloy/G10 foils plus better choice of wings.
I see no advantage paying more for Carbon

snalberski
WA, 576 posts
21 May 2018 11:17AM
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Faff said..
I'm interested in getting my first windfoil. I've been told that windfoils are basically following kitefoil developments with a lag of of a couple of seasons. Right now all-carbon windfoils are all the rage. I really like the idea of having as few connections and screws as possible. But apparently single-piece (mast and fuselage) foils were all the rage in kitefoiling a few years ago, yet now everyone is switching to aluminium fuselages (and carbon everything else). Is this true? Coincidentally, the windfoil that is winning most races now has an aluminium fuselage (Starboard). Thanks for any tips.


Ive noticed a trend in the high end models of long established and highly regarded makers toward titanium fuselages.

wdric
NSW, 1616 posts
21 May 2018 6:46PM
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Faff said..
I'm interested in getting my first windfoil. I've been told that windfoils are basically following kitefoil developments with a lag of of a couple of seasons. Right now all-carbon windfoils are all the rage. I really like the idea of having as few connections and screws as possible. But apparently single-piece (mast and fuselage) foils were all the rage in kitefoiling a few years ago, yet now everyone is switching to aluminium fuselages (and carbon everything else). Is this true? Coincidentally, the windfoil that is winning most races now has an aluminium fuselage (Starboard). Thanks for any tips.


I think you might find that there are just more players and models entering as the market gets bigger and they all want a slice of the pie and they are coming in with alloy mast (easier and cheaper to get it good enough for the average joe). For the big companies that employ cheap labour in big factories quality is always something that is reliant on humans, producing an alloy mast takes away the risk of producing substandard carbon mast ;)
The marketing strategy would dictate lower cost, more profit in an aluminium extrusion sold the masses than a work of art carbon product that lots cant afford.

If they all set out to make the best foil I am sure they would all agree that carbon is the go ;)

Gorgo
VIC, 4016 posts
21 May 2018 8:14PM
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I had aluminium mast and fuselage and it was a constant battle with corrosion and frozen bolts and all the rest.

A mate has a high quality aluminium kit and it is less of a problem, but problems still happen.

In my opinion the only benefit of aluminium is that it is cheap. All they have to do is buy it, cut it to length, paint it and send it out the door.

I have had carbon for the past couple of years and it is a total joy to own. Robust and maintenance free. Chips can be filled with epoxy putty. A lick of spray paint, bit of a sand and off you go.

Not all carbon is the same. Mine are J Shapes carbon sandwich. Modestly priced, very light and extremely reliable. I love them.

I had a KFA and lots of people had Alecto foils in the early days. Heavy and all sorts of delamination and splitting issues.

Faff
VIC, 609 posts
21 May 2018 9:16PM
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Thanks for the replies. I'll definitely get a carbon mast and wings. Be the question is whether the fuselage should be carbon as well.

warwickl
NSW, 1022 posts
21 May 2018 9:35PM
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Gorgo said..
I had aluminium mast and fuselage and it was a constant battle with corrosion and frozen bolts and all the rest.

A mate has a high quality aluminium kit and it is less of a problem, but problems still happen.

In my opinion the only benefit of aluminium is that it is cheap. All they have to do is buy it, cut it to length, paint it and send it out the door.

I have had carbon for the past couple of years and it is a total joy to own. Robust and maintenance free. Chips can be filled with epoxy putty. A lick of spray paint, bit of a sand and off you go.

Not all carbon is the same. Mine are J Shapes carbon sandwich. Modestly priced, very light and extremely reliable. I love them.

I had a KFA and lots of people had Alecto foils in the early days. Heavy and all sorts of delamination and splitting issues.


Hi
Do you have any evidence of a KFA carbon mast delaminating?

Gorgo
VIC, 4016 posts
21 May 2018 10:52PM
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warwickl said..

Gorgo said..

....

I had a KFA and lots of people had Alecto foils in the early days. Heavy and all sorts of delamination and splitting issues.



Hi
Do you have any evidence of a KFA carbon mast delaminating?


It was the Alecto that were delaminating. KFA trouble with production and actually delivering product. I cannot say for sure if they had quality problems with their foils. Their boards were garbage.

RAL INN
VIC, 2565 posts
22 May 2018 6:22AM
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In early days of Alloy foils, the foils were designed around an extrusion that was already available and first made for window leuvers.
sourced in lengths from 1or 2 Chinese factories, and noticeable by having 2 bolt holes.
these were anodised and a sticker applied. And in one or two cases filled with PU.
also fuselages were of one std extrusion or another and just anodised.
Going to a proprietary extrusion is specified Alloy grade with 3 bolt points and then anodised then powdercoated, then a simple maintenance regime has proven to cure corrosion issues. At least in last couple of years and counting.

As for Aluminium V's Carbon as an engineering material and mechanical properties. I would be very careful to declare either one the best without some proper research.

Kamikuza
QLD, 3442 posts
22 May 2018 11:46AM
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Yeah I think there's a lot of paranoia about alloy masts borne out of the original gear, no TefGel and zero maintenance.

dachopper
WA, 1352 posts
23 May 2018 2:13AM
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I haven't had any issues on my aluminium alpine foil setup yet - but I don't leave the thing sitting together like a galvanic battery for days either, and I use tef gel when I do the bolts up. Even if you did use carbon, if you left the bolts in you will get galvanic corrosion unless the bolts are carbon also.

RAL INN
VIC, 2565 posts
23 May 2018 7:26AM
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As Dachopper alluded to above.
how many foilers disassemble then put bolts back in threads for packing away.

Gorgo
VIC, 4016 posts
23 May 2018 8:15AM
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I disassemble after every session and store the bolts in the threads so I don't lose them.

It only takes a few minutes and everything fits neatly in my car. I don't have to lay seats down. At home the board lives in the board rack with all the other boards.

I understand that the new aluminium parts are much better than the old ones. But they're still much heavier, they still take some maintenance, they don't cost much less than carbon (well my carbon kit anyway), and they don't seem to be any more robust.

bigtone667
NSW, 958 posts
23 May 2018 8:58AM
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RAL INN said..
As Dachopper alluded to above.
how many foilers disassemble then put bolts back in threads for packing away.


I never pull apart my aluminium foils.

It only ever bit me once on the arse. That was with a LF Foil Fish before I knew about tefgel. Had to drill out head to seperate the fuselage and mast.

Using a philips head impact driver also helps with screw removal.

dachopper
WA, 1352 posts
23 May 2018 12:17PM
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Gorgo said..
I disassemble after every session and store the bolts in the threads so I don't lose them.

It only takes a few minutes and everything fits neatly in my car. I don't have to lay seats down. At home the board lives in the board rack with all the other boards.

I understand that the new aluminium parts are much better than the old ones. But they're still much heavier, they still take some maintenance, they don't cost much less than carbon (well my carbon kit anyway), and they don't seem to be any more robust.



You are storing a stainless bolt in an aluminium thread = corrosion, but seriously, carbon is good for what carbon is good for, stopping stretch. impact resistance from jumping and running into things aluminium and titanium are much better.

also carbon + titanium is pretty much perfect match, you could probably get away with leaving it all done up and not have corrosion.

I think the biggest step forward with the aluminium components, is the heat treatment cycle that some have applied, which stiffens the aluminium right up - making it stronger than carbon in any direction, and similar / slightly less in the design direction.

Gorgo
VIC, 4016 posts
23 May 2018 3:15PM
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dachopper said..

Gorgo said..
I disassemble after every session and store the bolts in the threads so I don't lose them.

....




You are storing a stainless bolt in an aluminium thread = corrosion, but seriously, carbon is good for what carbon is good for, stopping stretch. impact resistance from jumping and running into things aluminium and titanium are much better.

....


Nope. I am storing a stainless 304 bolt in a stainless barrel nut insert in a carbon fibre mast. No corrosion. No problems.

When I had aluminium I stored the bolts in a little container in the bag. The worst for corrosion were the bolts holding the plate mount onto the mast.

There is one small issue with my carbon sandwich gear. The low speed foil has quite a bit of volume. It floats. When I crash the foil and board can float up high on the side, and proceed to sail off across the wind. It's not very fast, but it sometimes takes a little body dragging to get back to it. It's much nicer when the foil is down and it comes back like a naughty puppy.

Just as an aside, a mate has a Zeeko aluminium kit, and ran into something floating in the water. It snapped the front of the fuselage clean off. I don't think you can draw any conclusions based on a single anecdote, anything can break. But I do think it's reasonable to assume that the differences in performance and strength between carbon and aluminium are marginal. Differences in weight and corrosion resistance are considerable.

RAL INN
VIC, 2565 posts
23 May 2018 3:27PM
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Not sure about the heat treatments of Alloy foil components but using the right Alloy mix and better control of the heating and cooling during the extrusion process for masts and forming the billet for Cnc machining of fuselage and mounting plates, will and does mean a higher std. of products.

In regards to stiffness. I have been lead to believe that with CF it is all about the direction of fibres and laying out those fibres in multiple directions to achieve the stiffness in the desired planes of flex.
Aluminium as a metal has same stiffness in all directions which means only control is in design shapes.

Pauloz
VIC, 108 posts
23 May 2018 8:32PM
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Mr Gorgo, you forgot the full story.
Yes my Zeeko fuealage broke after hitting something solid in the water.
What is missing, is that I bent the fuselage, initially in shallow water virtually jumping up and down on it with too large a kite in a squall.
I straightened it out in the vice, and it lived nearly 3 more seasons before that break this season.

Re corrosion on alloy foils, I think it is less that they have gotten better, more that some were better made from the outset. My Zeeko gets a re Tefgel once a month including a rinse. No sign whatsoever of corrosion.

I would however prefer a Carbon kit like the Jshapes, and they are priced well.

snalberski
WA, 576 posts
23 May 2018 8:01PM
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My first foil was a Sroka V1 aluminium split fuselage. I used it for a season and a half and never saw any indications of corrosion at all. I used tefgel and initially pulled it apart once a month, but in the end I never bothered at all because there was never any problem. I have to believe that cheaper foils use cheaper alloys and are more prone to corrosion.

RAL INN
VIC, 2565 posts
24 May 2018 8:26AM
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A lot has to do with weather it is anodised only or also powdercoated
anodising is half the thickness of powder coating and less scratch resistant.
The Alloy will start oxidation once it is exposed so a powdercoated over anodised part has three times the thickness so can resist that bit longer.

my Spitfire has a few small chips in coat on forward tip of fuselage while my front G10 wing shows plenty of signs of sand abrasion plus a few nicks. All due to 18months of using sandbars and shell grit as a deaccelerant.
zero signs of Corrosion.
plus I use two straps so am usually checking my straps for damage after crashes involving the yellow thick water.

there is no substitute for a quality product irregardless of the material it is made of.

Kamikuza
QLD, 3442 posts
24 May 2018 1:15PM
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Anodizing isn't a coating, it alters the surface of the aluminum, and it's "tougher" than powder coating and more corrosion resistant. If you can scratch through the anodized layer, you'll have been doing the same damage to powder coating so it's a moot point...

RAL INN
VIC, 2565 posts
24 May 2018 3:23PM
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Kamikuza said..
Anodizing isn't a coating, it alters the surface of the aluminum, and it's "tougher" than powder coating and more corrosion resistant. If you can scratch through the anodized layer, you'll have been doing the same damage to powder coating so it's a moot point...

That's your opinion and that's fine.
but it's not my experience of owning and operating an engineering fabrication business with in house powder coating and anodising, for 18 years.

Kamikuza
QLD, 3442 posts
24 May 2018 3:39PM
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RAL INN said..

Kamikuza said..
Anodizing isn't a coating, it alters the surface of the aluminum, and it's "tougher" than powder coating and more corrosion resistant. If you can scratch through the anodized layer, you'll have been doing the same damage to powder coating so it's a moot point...


That's your opinion and that's fine.
but it's not my experience of owning and operating an engineering fabrication business with in house powder coating and anodising, for 18 years.


What type of anodizing are you doing?

Not my opinion, I was summarizing what every website I could find was saying.

RAL INN
VIC, 2565 posts
24 May 2018 5:32PM
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If you are talking about Hard anodised parts yes it is tough but is not that reliable when flexing is involved plus only really a grey ****ty colour that can be blackened so to speak.
the anodised parts in colour were in our experience more fragile but an excellent prep for powder coating and so we settled into just chromate type for our Aluminium products.

Kamikuza
QLD, 3442 posts
24 May 2018 9:30PM
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RAL INN said..
If you are talking about Hard anodised parts yes it is tough but is not that reliable when flexing is involved plus only really a grey ****ty colour that can be blackened so to speak.
the anodised parts in colour were in our experience more fragile but an excellent prep for powder coating and so we settled into just chromate type for our Aluminium products.


Type I? I remember a lot of ****ty products for the bikes in the mid-90s and early 2000s, that would wear rapidly from just rubbing and loose color. Even the LF anodizing was vastly more resilient. I've not heard of issues with flexing of anodized parts. Thermal stress, yes.

I guess it all depends what type of processes companies are using. More options than when I was paying attention way back when...

ActionSportsWA
WA, 582 posts
25 May 2018 11:47AM
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Hi Faff,

I think the connection point is the biggest problem, not to mention the inability to pack it all away or travel with it. It would seem that the fastest foils are now coming as a wing/fuse/stabilizer in one carbon piece to give best stiffness and bolt to the mast.

Cost would be a big consideration when you look at the shape and weight of a carbon vs alloy fuse. There would be little difference in stiffness, torsion or weight between the two, but manufacturing the joint would be cheaper, easier and more cost effective in alloy.

My Moses rigs are all alloy fuse with everything else carbon. Fast, stiff and lightweight. I like this because I can replace every component individually if I manage to damage it.

The only time corrosion seems to be an issue is with Alloy Mast to Alloy fuse. Use Tef-Gel and make sure you look after your gear and that wont be an issue either.

DM

dachopper
WA, 1352 posts
25 May 2018 1:23PM
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DM hit the 'real' nail on the head. The biggest factor above everything else, is how to transport a 1 piece 1.2 meter by 70 by 80 sized odd shaped object. I have enough trouble just trying to get my board to fit in my car, it would be almost impossible to fit the assembled foil - not to mention the damage caused by it banging things & when baggage handlers drop it flying airlines having no clue what it is. Performance wise - there probably is something in it, but I don't think it's much, and that is if you are racing sponsored in the world series.


For example - The alpine foil ultimate - if you are that way inclined is a piece of art, had Alex Caizergues who held a 50+ kt speed record, and rode it at 37.9 kts. I know a few years ago - some manufacturers were saying that 25 kts is the limit of aluminium, but I think that has been surpassed, we will see soon.

Faff
VIC, 609 posts
25 May 2018 6:54PM
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ActionSportsWA said..
Hi Faff,

I think the connection point is the biggest problem, not to mention the inability to pack it all away or travel with it. It would seem that the fastest foils are now coming as a wing/fuse/stabilizer in one carbon piece to give best stiffness and bolt to the mast.

Cost would be a big consideration when you look at the shape and weight of a carbon vs alloy fuse. There would be little difference in stiffness, torsion or weight between the two, but manufacturing the joint would be cheaper, easier and more cost effective in alloy.

My Moses rigs are all alloy fuse with everything else carbon. Fast, stiff and lightweight. I like this because I can replace every component individually if I manage to damage it.

The only time corrosion seems to be an issue is with Alloy Mast to Alloy fuse. Use Tef-Gel and make sure you look after your gear and that wont be an issue either.

DM


Thanks, just bought a freeride Moses wind foil - aluminium fuselage, carbon everything else.

airsail
QLD, 288 posts
25 May 2018 7:23PM
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Yep, I'm lazy but it works. Just have to remember not to drive into the garage. Rigid carbon foils.


ActionSportsWA
WA, 582 posts
26 May 2018 9:09AM
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Faff said..

ActionSportsWA said..
Hi Faff,

I think the connection point is the biggest problem, not to mention the inability to pack it all away or travel with it. It would seem that the fastest foils are now coming as a wing/fuse/stabilizer in one carbon piece to give best stiffness and bolt to the mast.

Cost would be a big consideration when you look at the shape and weight of a carbon vs alloy fuse. There would be little difference in stiffness, torsion or weight between the two, but manufacturing the joint would be cheaper, easier and more cost effective in alloy.

My Moses rigs are all alloy fuse with everything else carbon. Fast, stiff and lightweight. I like this because I can replace every component individually if I manage to damage it.

The only time corrosion seems to be an issue is with Alloy Mast to Alloy fuse. Use Tef-Gel and make sure you look after your gear and that wont be an issue either.

DM



Thanks, just bought a freeride Moses wind foil - aluminium fuselage, carbon everything else.


Great Choice!

DM

RAL INN
VIC, 2565 posts
26 May 2018 1:41PM
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There is a chart that lists various metals in an order such that the further apart on the chart the metals are, the more bimetallic of Gavanic corrosion is a problem.
on that chart Aluminium is up near top and marine grade Stainless Steel is near bottom. So very prone to corrosion.
Carbon acts in this respect as a Noble metal and sits below Stainless Steel on the Chart.
So the corrosive interaction between Carbon and Aluminium is more so than between Stainless and Aluminium.



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"Carbon vs Aluminium fuselages" started by Faff