Skirts and Seals for Surface Effect Vehicles
NATIONAL MATERIALS ADVISORY BOARD (NAS-NAE) WASHINGTON DC
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Surface Effect Vehicles SEVs with weights up to 200 tons capable of speeds to 80 knots over water and land are in service. Considerably larger vehicles are under development. However, the life of the fabric-reinforced, elastomer-coated skirtseal systems on current vehicles is short it is anticipated that even shorter skirt lives will be encountered on the larger, higher speed vehicles under development, limiting the military potential and commercial practicality of the SEV mode of transportation. The skirts are subjected to a salt water, sand, marsh, or ice environment coupled with the dynamic loading induced by high speed operation. Their failure is a very complex, interdisciplinary problem that is not completely understood. Three major modes of failure are evident delamination abrasion and tearing. These may occur separately or in combination, depending on vehicle size and design vehicle mission skirt and seal design and skirt and seal material. The current status of the development of skirts and seals is reviewed. Modes of failure, loading conditions, and effects of environments, materials selection, methods of manufacture, system fabrication, and test methods are discussed. A series of recommendations is made that, if followed, should lead to the development of more durable skirts and seals.
- Surface Effect Vehicles and Amphibious Vehicles