Use of green composites for manufacturing small boats in the Amazon: numerical and experimental evaluations


  • Mateus Carvalho
  • João Carlos Valente
  • Mário Xavier
  • José Alan Raiol
  • Leonardo Dantas Rodrigues
  • Roberto Fujiyama


The Amazon has a great potential of natural resources. There is a wide diversity of plant specimens and many
of them can be extracted and processed such as jute, sisal and mauve fibers. It is known that usualy small
communities from Amazon build their boats using a rudimentary and ecologically incorrect method, which
comes from brazilian natives. This method consists in cut of trees with large trunks, which are burned and
scraped until they get the desired shape. This process is not viable due to the long time spent and also it is
environmentally unacceptable nowadays. Considering these facts, it was created a project at UFPA aiming to
evaluate the building viability of small boats adapted to the Amazon region. These boats have been made
with composite material, polymeric resin reinforced with natural fiber fabric. Hence, this paper brings the
first stage of this project, treating on the build of a small boat with reduced dimensions. This prototype was
experimentally studied, using strain gages, and evaluated numerically by finite element method through the
software ANSYS®. This stage was very important to optimize the parameters used in the finite element
model, which was employed to analyse the model with real dimensions. As a result, the numerical models
showed a good compatibility with real tests. Additionally, the designed boat demonstrated to be able to hold
the imposed loads.