Biomimetics and Biomimicry in Engineering

Porous materials for turbine blades

In Info on 2010/04/19 at 7:42 pm

Smart materials or those with tailored functionalities are not necessarily artificial materials, manufactured ad-hoc, made out of composites and intricate micro-architectures. Sometimes, the simplest ones are those that work!.

A Norwegian company has begun installing a 1.5MW prototype tidal-energy plant featuring turbines constructed with wooden blades. The full article can be found here.

“Hydra Tidal extols the use of wood for this application because it is naturally porous and homogeneous material – so it has better mechanical and hydrological characteristics than current conventional materials, such as composites and steel.”

Wooden turbine blades for windmills have been used in the past, notably by Hugh Piggott, who runs DIY workshops and has a very well populated personal website.  The last project I’ve seen (by Robin Lovelace, Univ of Sheffield) generated a 500W vertical axis turbine. Not much, but you can probably boil your kettle for tea tonight with that!.

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