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What about aluminium rather than steel for sea going barge construction? Definitely not in our opinion. The reasons against aluminium for a barge are several:

  1. (1)If it is corrosion you are worried about then aluminium corrodes in salt and fresh water, albeit  in a different way to steel. But there is no problem with steel corrosion if the right grade of steel is used and the right build, blasting and painting techniques and maintenance plan are used on steel. We have proved it over 35 years of steel boatbuilding.

  2. (2)Furthermore, aluminium can rip and tear under stress, unlike steel. Not something you want in a barge environment.

  3. (3)Aluminium has little flexural memory. In other words dent it and it tends to stay dented, where steel will often flex back out to its original shape.

  4. (4)Aluminium construction is more expensive than steel construction. If there are no advantages for a barge then why spend the money?.

  5. (5) Where aluminium comes into its own is in saving weight in the construction. For example this is important if you are building a fast planing cruiser where a considerable weight saving will allow the boat to plane and increase its speed. But hull weight is not a problem for a barge (draft is but that is a different matter) so the comparative lightness of construction is not an advantage.

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Peter Nicholls Yachtbuilders Ltd, Bruanston Marina Trade Centre, Daventry Road. Braunston, Northants NN11 7JH Registered in England 2855981