Brit Liggett

New Carbon Nanotube Wind Turbine Blade is Lighter, Stronger, More Efficient

by , 08/30/11

wind turbine, lighter wind turbine, stronger wind turbine, wind turbine blade, case western university, wind turbine innovation, wind turbine engineering, new wind turbine

A researcher at Case Western University recently developed a wind turbine blade that is lighter and stronger than conventional prototypes. Increasing the size of wind turbines in order to increase their energy capacity has been difficult, since the parts become too heavy and prone to damage when enlarged. Now Case Western has created a new composite material made from a polyurethane base reinforced with carbon nanotubes that is lighter and eight times tougher than the material currently used to create wind turbine blades.

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Results of mechanical testing for the carbon nanotube reinforced polyurethane show that this material outperforms the currently used resins for wind blades applications,” said Ica Manas-Zloczower, professor of macromolecular science and engineering and associate dean in the Case School of Engineering. The turbine blade was built by Marcio Loos, a post-doctoral researcher in the Department of Macromolecular Science and Engineering, with the help of his Case Western colleagues.

Loos used a commercial template to build a 29-inch blade that is lighter and stronger than any blades currently on the market. “The idea behind all this is the need to develop stronger and lighter materials which will enable manufacturing of blades for larger rotors,” Loos said. Current large blade turbines are heavy, more wind is needed to turn them, and they spin less, which produces less energy. They are also prone to flexing in the wind, which also causes them to capture less energy than they potentially could. Loos’ blade — which was tested on a 400-watt turbine — promises to solve these problems, and his Case Western team is looking to use their turbine as an industry jumping point into carbon nanotube-reinforced turbines.

+ Case Western University

Via Eurekalert

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3 Comments

  1. sankartheone February 22, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    what is the value of efficiency of these turbines?????

  2. ajdorsey August 31, 2011 at 1:33 am

    This could be just what is needed to make this technology useful… sorry birdies, sometimes things must be sacrificed for human progress.

  3. inhabitat84 inhabitat84 August 31, 2011 at 12:03 am

    Wow, this makes me appreciate our human ingenuity. We/people always find ways of making good things better.

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