Marcio Loos, is a post-doctoral researcher in the Department of Macromolecular Science and Engineering has reached to new blades for the wind turbines that are much lighter than the used blades nowadays, which will make the blades will move by less wind.
The new blades are made from polyurethane reinforced with carbon nanotube, using a small commercial blade as a template, Loos manufactured a 29-inch (73.6 cm) blade that is substantially lighter, more rigid and tougher than conventional blades. Rigidity is important because as a blade flexes in the wind it loses the optimal shape for catching air, so less energy is captured.
Working with colleagues at Case Western Reserve, and investigators from Bayer Material Science in Pittsburgh, and Molded Fiber Glass Co. in Ashtabula, Ohio, Loos compared the properties of the new materials with that of conventional blades manufactured using fiberglass resin.
Comparing reinforcing materials, the researchers found that the carbon nanotubes are lighter per unit of volume than carbon fiber and aluminum and had five times the tensile strength of carbon fiber and more than 60 times that of aluminum.