Safran’s rudders in “3D woven” carbon fiber
To avoid delamination, Safran’s rudders are made of carbon fibers woven in three dimensions, a technology derived from the Group’s aerospace research, which will be applied on the next generation of commercial jet engines. The rudders of a sailboat, crucial to controlling the craft, are often subjected to severe shocks in collisions with UFOs (Unidentified Floating Objects) or sea mammals. Even with systems for automatically retracting a rudder on contact, this can still result in major damage, with delamination that may lead to breakage of the whole part.
With the 3D woven technology, the carbon fibers, instead of being laid on top of each other in successive layers, are first interwoven on Jacquard looms (like those used in the textile industry) before being applied to the rudder main beam and the leading and trailing edges. The advantage of this procedure is much greater resistance to shock and virtually no delamination after impact.
A simplified steering system
The steering system has been transformed to make it both more sensitive and more efficient for the sailors and for the automatic pilot. The control jacks have been brought closer to the rudder blades to reduce play and achieve more accurate operation. Most traditional spreaders and rods have been replaced by rudder cables. In addition to the weight saved, higher performance is achieved by simplifying the system and limiting the risk of breakdown.