Inventions, collaborations, and projects from the fringe


  1. Laminate design software.

  2. Co-developer of laminate design and analysis software. A tool designed to simplify & prioritize four principles; stiffness, strength, weight, and cost. The software significantly demystified the composite engineering process for the non-engineer.


  3. Infusion specific reinforcements.        

  4. Inventor, developer of Infusion Grade (self-infusing) E Glass reinforcements.

  5. These fabrics optimized resin flow while reducing resin waste; no flow medium (surface flow or continuos fiber mat) required.


    Designed & Developed infusible, heavy weight, unidirectional reinforcements for WIND BLADE production enabling faster lay-ups and

    exceptional mechanical properties (University of Montana study).


  1. “Low risk” Carbon Fiber  infusion.

    Created & developed hybrid of carbon fiber and polyamide to achieve 100% fiber saturation low risk infusion and improve damage tolerance

    Examples: Infused carbon fiber helicopter landing pad. Infused carbon fiber deck for high speed 70ft offshore powerboat.

   


    Application Specific Products

    Developed pultrusion specific reinforcements to optimize off axis strength and improve part efficiency.


    Technical Training Programs

    Wrote and presented Technical Training programs for engineers, sales and marketing in the USA, UK, and China.

from high seas to the shop floor, to the lab, to the classroom.

hands-on.

The experienced gained from putting your hands on the material and practicing the art can not be found in a text book. This real world, practical experience is part of what identifies bravolab as an industry innovator and a creative force.

  1. I came to composites via the competitive sailing world. Raised in New Zealand, a country that prides itself on teaching the values of being self-reliant and resourceful, my adolescence was spent learning how to build and repair my own boats in the endless pursuit of what could improve performance and so began my fascination with materials.


  1. What followed was a 14 year professional racing career with more than 80,000 miles of ocean racing including nine transatlantic crossings; two of them in solo races; the second solo race was in an all carbon fiber 60 ft trimaran (pictured above) weighing just 6500 lbs . This high performance sailboat competed at the  edge of the structural envelope for extended periods of time and demonstrated what is possible when engineering and building are in sync. No debate, these are high risk, intensive sailing events like running multiple marathons back to back; pushing the boat and crew to the limit with no time to rest. The emphasis on light, strong, and above all reliable is so important and ever present when your a thousand miles from the nearest dry land should something fail.



  1. After the campaign I moved into composite manufacturing when I joined the prestigious custom boat builder, Eric Geotz, RI, to primarily build carbon fiber masts and spars, the first of their kind in the US. Then came a 13 year career with Vectorply Corporation, a manufacturer of fiberglass, aramid, and carbon non-crimp, multiaxial reinforcements. At this point Vectorply was virtually a start-up company with a few machines fighting to make a niche in a very competitive market place. As the Technical Director it was my responsibility to create the tools to accelerate the company’s technical skill level among the sales and engineering team. At the same time it was apparent that you need more than a trained staff; you need products that deliver verifiable performance and added value. To help fast track product development I co-developed a laminate design program to create the ultimate “what if” design tool. Vectorlam has been adopted by schools, government agencies and composite designers and engineers both in the US and abroad.


  1. As the emphasis moved from open molding  to close molding one thing became very evident; the industry lacked in effective products to deal with the nuances of vacuum resin  infusion molding. Compression induced by the vacuum seriously reduces the laminate thickness and therefore the available space for resin to flow.  My answer to this dilemma was to create an entirely new type of multi-plane reinforcement; one that could resist the vacuum and efficiently fill with resin. Parallel to this I developed a method to determine the true cost of infusion; a valuable tool when determining the most cost effective manufacturing method. The combination of self-infusing fabric and true cost calculator proved an unbeatable duo.


Sebago: Philip Steggall’s solo transatlantic ride, 1988 a 60 foot carbon fiber trimaran

The current home construction project is a 48 ft. ocean racing trimaran for personal use. The boat is built from carbon fiber, foam core, and epoxy using the infusion method.