Pittsburgh-based Bayer MaterialScience LLC is moving forward with research and testing that could determine the viability of polyurethane composites reinforced with Baytubes carbon nanotubes for potential use in 1.5 MW or larger wind turbine blades.
The Carbon Nanotube Reinforced Polyurethane Composites for Wind Turbine Blades project is funded in part by a $750,000 grant Bayer MaterialScience received from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in July 2009. A core element of the research calls for optimizing the base formulations and functionality of carbon nanotubes to meet or exceed existing material performance.
Bayer MaterialScience is subcontracting with Cleveland-based Case Western Reserve University and Ashtabula, Ohio-based Molded Fiber Glass Cos. to assist with research as part of the project.
‘We're excited to work with industry and academia to study the viability of applying our polyurethane and other composites reinforced with carbon nanotubes to help the wind energy industry develop stronger, larger and lighter wind turbine blades,’ says Mike Gallagher, director of Bayer MaterialScience's government services group.
Bayer MaterialScience's polyurethane-based systems reinforced with carbon nanotubes during the resin phase have been proven to create as much as a 50% increase in strength-to-weight ratio by modifying the resin component of the composite to percolation levels ranging from 0.1% to 0.4%, according to the company.
In addition to providing a stronger composite structure, polyurethane-based systems use bio-based components and can be tailored to eliminate the post-cure step, which can reduce energy costs, according to Bayer MaterialScience.
SOURCE: Bayer MaterialScience LLC