Tuesday, August 3, 2010

VIDEO: resin infusion

This video documents/demonstrates the process of "vacuum resin infusion".  It is such an interesting, clean technique for lamination of composites.  Initially it was used in the aerospace industry, but more recently has been the method of choice to fabricate large-scale windmill turbine blades as well as giant ultralight boat hulls or other applications requiring a state-of-the-art ratio of reinforcement fiber to resin.  There is little waste or noxious odors with this process & the efficiency of the saturation is much higher than hand lamination combined with vacuum bagging.

I recently used this process to create an involute-curved windmill vane for a vertical-axis windmill of my own design.  It was a unique achievement & differs from what's been done to date for several reasons.  The vanes were built using all natural materials... there is no glass fiber, carbon fiber, kevlar or any other exotic, energy intensive material used... it is a flexible, durable monocoque construction combining a FSC certified plywood sub-frame base with reclaimed/remilled redwood "battens"... this wood core is sandwiched between two layers of hand-dyed 5 oz. hemp/silk cloth.  The tinted bioresin used to infuse these components is called SuperSap, a sustainable epoxy created from the waste stream of the paper industry (pine trees) & the biofuel industry (rapeseed).  The flywheel/turntable windmill will be mounted in the "crow's nest" of a treehouse I helped build which is located in a mammouth fig tree in Santa Monica, CA.

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