If you’ve visited this blog before, you will know I’m very interested in climate change and possible engineering solutions to cope with it. I’m very happy the time has come I can finally start doing this myself. As I started my third and last year of my bachelor degree in materials and mechanical engineering, I’m supposed to do a small thesis project. For me this was the perfect opportunity to do research, designing and testing in a field close to my heart. I started my search trough the materials department of my university and in the end I found two young researchers who would form the perfect mix for my project: one experienced in wind turbine blades using glass fibers, the other in natural fibers and composites. The resulting question: would it be possible and valuable to replace the widely used glass and carbon fibers with some natural alternatives?
The following months I will take you along on my first serious research and design project, of which I will formulate a very first problem statement (prone to serious changes during the first coming weeks):
Are natural fibres a feasable and economical alternative for glass or carbon fibres as strengthening material in the blades of small-scale wind turbines?
I will start with a literaty study, followed by a detailed specification. After selecting a few potential alternatives the planning and preparing of tests will take place. After these are performed I will hopefully have some interesting results on which I can base a funded conclusion or give suggestions where further research is necessary. I hope you will enjoy following me along!