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Composite Sonar Dome

Holland Composites > Maritime > Composite Sonar Dome

Project detailsx

Project detailsx

Client: Defence Customers
Location: Global
Year: 1999-present
Surface: 2700 m2
Material: Thick GRP or CFRP
Specifics: Since 1999 we have been able to produce sonar domes made in 1 piece with our new technique. Until then, sonar domes were either of metal or glued from multiple (composite) parts. Obviously ours are stronger!

One of our specialties; making large, complex shaped, thick-walled composite sonar domes in a single production run (out of 1 piece!).

To search underwater, everyone uses sonar technology. There are two types: active sonar and passive sonar. An active sonar emits a sound, the sound collides with an object, then it reflects and with that data you can determine that something is present and where about. A passive sonar does not transmit anything, but only listens to ships or submarines that make noise.

Warships as frigates usually use active sonars because they themselves (hull, machines and propellers) make too much noise to use the passive sonar properly. The under water world is thus a world of sound: the person who is quietest and / or can hear the furthest wins.

In 1999 Holland Composites developed a new technique to produce sonar domes – the excellent spherical part under the fore of large (war) ships such as frigates where the sonar is housed. Until then, sonar domes were either of metal or glued from multiple (composite) parts.

We produce a single composite construction sonar dome – without secondary connection – with a wall thickness of 20 to 80 mm which protects the sonar installation against slamming and vibrations.

In addition to known advantages of composite such as strength and stiffness at relatively low weight, longer life and minimal maintenance, it is a big plus that the density of a composite laminate is closer to the density of water, and that the speed of propagation of the sound thereby less disruption (which leads to better data). Further optimization is possible by producing a partially viscoelastic laminate.

With materials such as E-glass and a hybrid vinyl ester / epoxy resin, we succeed in achieving a high fiber volume content of 70% with the vacuum injection process. This results in a robust and cost-efficient product.

Other important features are the absence of air entrapment (airvoids) in the laminate and the very uniform wall thickness; this minimizes the reliability of the sonar data.

Want to know what is possible? Make an appointment!

Have a challenge for us? Let us know now!


"The freedom of design that composite offers is' extremely interesting ', agrees architect Joost Vos of Benthem Crouwel, the agency that designed the bathtub for the Stedelijk Museum' You can determine the ingredients yourself in composites. Choosing, for example, hardness, but also by color, shape and degree of gloss." Hans van Breugel, CEO Tocardo Tidal Power

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