Self-curing resin may make wind turbines more eco-friendly
Although wind turbines may seem like the epitome of "green" energy, scientists from Vanderbilt University are working on making them even greener. More specifically, they're looking at a resin that could save energy when turbine blades are being created, and that might make those blades more recyclable.
Currently, the resin that's used in the production of fiberglass turbine blades has to be heated in order to cure, and that requires energy that doesn't necessarily come from green sources. Additionally, once those blades finally wear out, very little of the material that they're made out of can be recycled.
Now, however, a Vanderbilt team led by Prof. Doug Adams is experimenting with a new type of thermoplastic resin known as Elium. Made by industry partner Arkema, it creates its own heat through a chemical reaction, and proceeds to cure without creating flaws in the fiberglass. It's also possible to melt down the resin long after it's cured, allowing the glass fibers to be reclaimed for reuse.
The researchers are now planning on scaling up the process, moving from relatively small samples to full-size blades.
Source: Vanderbilt University
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