Today’s kayaks are usually made from plastics and composite materials. Some new kayak prototypes have now been coated with an epoxy gelcoat modified with Baytubes® that has been developed by the research company Re-Turn AS, Gamle Fredrikstad, Norway. The multiwall carbon nanotubes Baytubes® are produced by Bayer MaterialScience in industrial scale at low cost.
Reinforcing the outer skin of a kayak – the gel coat – with carbon nanotubes makes it more resilient to abrasion from a shingle beach or contact with the edge of a river bank. In contrast, many conventional gel coats, especially those of particularly lightweight and sporty kayaks, are highly sensitive to external mechanical action. The nanotubes also absorb UV radiation, thereby minimizing the associated bleaching and embrittling effects.
The flow resistance of the hull is said to be lower which makes the boat easier to paddle and translates more of the kayaker’s muscle power into speed.