Industrial Liaison Office

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Sail fabrics

Sails for racing yachts are made from extremely light innovative materials that offer high performance in race conditions.

The properties of such materials cause their structural details to be virtually invisible under examination by traditional radiographic techniques. Moreover, the preparation needed for electron microscope examination causes radical structural changes in these materials.


Elettra's contribution
The use of phase contrast microradiography at Elettra allows these materials to be examined, and their structures established, at the nanometre level with preservation of sample integrity.
Furthermore, because sail fabrics are made from extremely fine textile layers glued together, phase imaging is a valuable tool for revealing air bubbles formed during

the gluing process which are detrimental to the performance in competitive sport. The ability to simulate variations in parameters such as humidity, salinity and temperature, or to perform wear and tear tests such as repeated folding, provides an excellent diagnostic tool that can spur development of these materials.


Facility: SYRMEP Beamline

Applications of Phase-sensitive X-Ray Imaging to the Structural Analysis of Composite Laminate High-performance Sail Fabrics; L. Tesei, G. Tesei, L. Mancini, G. Tromba, F. Zanini; Advanced Engineering Materials, 7 (11), 2005.