Japanese consortium begins construction of all-titanium boat
An all-titanium fishing boat is being constructed as a project by Nippon Steel Corporation, Toho Technical Service Company, and Eto Shipbuilding Company. According to published reports in the International Titanium Association's newsletter and American Metal Market, the boat will use about three tonnes of titanium.
The boat will be 12.5 m long and 2.8 m wide, with the deck and structural parts as well as the hull made of titanium. The hull will be 2.5 mm thick as compared to 5 mm for an aluminum hull. In addition to the weight savings, the titanium hull will also be maintenance-free as marine growths that adhere to the titanium hull can be removed easily. Conventional fiber-reinforced plastic and aluminum-alloy ships need painting to prevent the adherence of marine growths.
The all-titanium ship offers several advantages, according to the developers. It will improve fuel efficiency, eliminate maintenance costs, increase the ship's speed as a result of the reduced resistance of the unpainted hull to the water, and ensure environmental safety as there will be no paint dissolving in the water.
Engineers from the three companies worked for four months in developing a test vessel before the final decision was made to proceed with the full-scale project. After the performance of the ship has been proven, the group plans to build pleasure boats, yachts, and high-speed police boats as well as fishing boats.