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Graphite Powder


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I know several people who routinely use graphite powder, added to epoxy, to coat the bottoms of their boats.  They believe that they are adding some level of durability or abrasion resistance to the bottom.  Is this fact or just snake oil?  Are there any studies to back up the claim?

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We used graphite powder mixed with epoxy as a barrier coat on our Albin Vega 27: https://www.instagram.com/p/BoCa8pvh9ET/ (if that link doesn't work for you, let me know and I'll post a picture later). It was purely for aesthetics in our case and didn't serve any other purpose. The idea was that if/when our ablative bottom paint started to fail/scrape-off, then at least the boat would still look reasonably nice below the water line.  

 

I think you could also make the argument that the graphite offers marginal UV protection, but at the surface, the epoxy would still be susceptible to damage. 

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I searched for info a few years ago and never found a study, only a lot of anecdotal information. The stories are positive. People are pleased with the look.
 

West System, which does many technical studies and tests, does not provide an analysis that I could find. It markets graphite powder as a cosmetic filler for low friction and scuff resistance, some uv protection, no anti fouling properties. An alternative to paint.

 

i assume that scuff resistance is at the low end of abrasion resistance.

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I have used it on at least 6 boats.  I can't say that it reduces friction but I use it for color and it looks better when it gets scuffed than varnish or paint. It seems a bit more resiliant than paint. I should clarify that most of the times I have used it has been on the bottom of varnished strip built boats.  I also used it on the bottom of my lapwing and I like the look.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Having the graphite powder in epoxy gives great UV protection and I think provides a smooth low friction surface. I have a Devlin Cackler I built in 99 and the bottom looks almost as good as when launched. Used about once a week since beginning.  And I have a pirogue stored upside down and the bow gets sun maybe 6 hours a day and looks fine.

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I ended up with 4 coats of graphite epoxy on the bottom of the Duckworks Scout I built last summer.  (Sorry all, non-B&B product.)  I was impressed with the way it held up to Door County Rocks and miscellaneous driveway scuffs. It certainly is better than scuffing through enamel and revealing primer or glass.  I did some sanding with 320 between coats to get it smooth and glossy the way I wanted.  I recommend it. But no studies.

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I'm guessing weight because West Systems says 12oz whereas Duckworks says one pint (volume).

The one from Amason says one quart and also 11oz so I guess telling us the weight of the volume.

I have not bought any yet, so I don't know for sure.

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