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Wind turbine blades covered in fabric? A modern technology that sounds like an old one.

A fabric-covered wing being made during WW1

With increasing demand for sustainable alternatives so it makes sense to minimise the weight of the sustainable energy production system so that it’s easier to deliver and uses less fossil fuel to do so! GE are developing a woven fabric that is based on fibreglass and will be tough and flexible. It will be tensioned over a steel frame and could be assembled on site rather that requiring expensive fibreglass lay-up moulds and avoiding the need to transport a blade that is 10’s of metres long.

Its interesting that technological developments can often seem cyclical, fabric covered wing structures were used in the first aeroplanes as it created a lightweight, relatively rigid structure and now that concept is being reused and updated with tecnical textiles.

Website link: GE Reports: “Can you knit a wind turbine?”, 3rd December 2012