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WindTapper's Blog

Triboelectric generation

Carbon Fiber Experiment

Getting the material is Step 1. I received some fabric from Soller Composites yesterday. I see now -- from their website -- an alternative form which they call "tape." Its edges appear not to unravel, although, it is not sticky tape, as one might imagine when seeing the word "tape."

I also ran into their business card stapled to a warning and information sheet that must have come with the fabric that I ordered.

They say that the carbon fiber will conduct electricity. For that reason, they warn that I must keep their material away from all electricity. Hmmmm. They warn also that it has a limit of 150 Fahrenheit degrees, and to pay attention to all their safety information. Cutting into it creates dust that is hazardous, and epoxy resins carry their own risks and limits on temperatures, etc., etc.

So anyway, apparently the tape is the way to go in order to provide a stable material for encapsulation experiments. I am not so concerned about temperature since my product will be outside in the wind in a temperate climate, but I would have to be concerned if somebody in a hotter climate were to use it.

Also, the encapsulation materials will carry their own temperature limits, besides the idea that I will indeed be working with electricity -- if at all possible. I suppose I will have to try experiments first using single strands. Each strand is very wide with multiple fibers side-by-side. I should conduct some basic electricity experiments on it, too, testing for conductivity....

I do not expect high charges to be generated, and in fact seek to bleed off all charges continuously and quickly in order to keep the operator and any stray cats, dogs, neighbors, and babies from being zapped in people's yards that have my devices working to create electricity from the wind.

Oh yes. Soller Composites has website links to both spellings that their name's letters generate aurally: and

Carbon Fiber

Volvo's car body panels made of carbon fiber and fiberglass supposedly store electricity. These are in development as far as I know now. Anyway, I decided to order some carbon fiber to experiment with and it arrived today from Soller Composites which can be found at

What I ordered is not exactly what I had imagined. Each waft and weave is far broader which requires subsequently seriously broad seam binding on its edges. I had ordered a 1 ft X 50 inch sample with which to experiment, so I spent some time applying clear plastic packing tape three times to each edge -- once for each side, then once to seal the edges of the two layers I had applied.

[Later Note: investigating the clear plastic packing tape at the Staples website, I think it is made of Acrylic. I am not sure what electrical properties this has compared to fiberglass resin. Another poly-something tape is available at Staples. I had wanted to mix up a titanium oxide calcium copper paint to try to use as insulation among cells of a battery. I might paint that onto the carbon fibers after impregnating a central layer of the fabric with other, positive and/or negative versions to set beside each other.]

Now I have edges encapsulated and will apply more tape before cutting off any more chunks -- other than a little clipping that I did on an edge that was frayed and longer. I now have some small fibrous chunks to play with.

I had imagined the material would be hardy, which it is, but not in its present state could I allow it to be subjected to triboelectric friction. It would warp and fray too much if I subjected it to my whirligig's bumps and grinds.

I guess I really should have ordered carbon felt, but I can see how this stuff would be hardy after fiberglass resin is applied. I can see why one might be interested in Kevlar-impregnated carbon fiber, now. I will think on this.

The interior edges of the packing tape binding on the carbon fiber would provide capillary action for sucking up liquids impregnated with various substances, plus electrodes, before further encapsulation once a chunk was cut off the sample, so I see much potential here for experimenting with the stuff as solar and triboelectric battery material.


Triboelectric generation uses friction to knock and drag electrons off surfaces. I am considering adding a layer to the bottom of my large whirligig that will act as a brake during turbulent winds as well as providing friction for my triboelectricity experiments.

Keeping the tethers that hold the bottom layer on from getting worn off due to friction; plus anchoring the ceramic pipe so the wind and friction don't knock it over are two problems I must work on before I bother to actually add the bottom layer.

Also, I was rummaging around in my electronics pix collections and ran across "The car's body panels serve as a battery." Googling this I found it came from Volvo, btw. Two layers of carbon fiber sandwiching a layer of fiberglass act as collectors for "holes" and electrons to run an electric car. The brakes act as an electron production facility. That's what gave me the idea for the brake on my gig being a triboelectric source for "holes" because the brake would be on the outside of the ceramic pipe.

Inside the pipe I could try to scrape some electrons off some sand, btw, as well as having a conventional magnetic and coil electricity generation facility on the central pole.

I guess I've become attached to the large gig, even though I already decided that narrower gigs are the way to go.
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