July 11, 2022
A team at the National Composites Center has designed and manufactured the UK’s first wild water kayak made from sustainable composite materials.
A team of 19 graduates, apprentices, and year-in-industry students at the National Composites Center (NCC) worked together to imagine, design, and manufacture a wild water kayak built from sustainable composite materials.
Jacob Holmes, a graduate research engineer at the NCC, and a member of the senior Great Britain wild water kayak team for five years, explained how the concept for the project came to be. “The idea for the project came about after the rules for wild water racing kayak dimensions changed this year,” said Mr. Holmes. “There is now no minimum width, and whilst this development has been slow over decades, it is potentially set for rapid change. There are currently no white-water racing kayaks made in the UK and there is no end-of-life solution for them either. We thought this would be a great challenge for our team of young engineers to work together on.”
Focused on new materials with lower embedded CO₂, longer life, and recyclability, the team selected Recyclamine technology for the manufacturing process of the kayak. Recyclamine, a hardener compatible with epoxy resins, allows thermoset epoxy resins to dissolve facilitating fiber reclamation without the need to cut the fiber. Recyclamine technology moves manufacturing towards a circular economy by providing better fiber reclamation than with traditional epoxies and useful resin output from the recycling process.