Here’s a weekly science pick that I couldn’t pass up. Do I have a thing for wind turbines? Absolutely not! But since the Gulf War, I’ve been extremely fascinated by B-2 bombers and F-117 Nighthawks. These planes use a combination of radar absorbing material (material science) and unique angles to minimize or nullify the effectiveness of radar by bouncing the signals away from the source, turning it into heat or slipping in between them. The result: Your deadly war craft looks like a pigeon on radar.
Apparently what makes these planes so great has other applications. Wind turbines are typically enormous (until the Scandinavian company I covered a few months back mass produces the little guys) and made of metal. If you’ve got a radar array watching an area near or around a wind farm you’ve got some serious interference and giant blips to contend with. To bypass this issue, French turbine makers EDF Energies Nouvelles have developed new wind turbines that utilize stealth technology, to catch only wind, not radar signals. According to wind turbine blade maker Vestas, which has partnered with Energies Nouvelles, the turbines will use surface coatings instead of weird angles to mask their presence from radar.
Great right? Barring the fact that this in effect creates deadspots on a radar screen that might freak some government types out, it sounds amazing! Why should you have to choose between renewable energy and defense. Better yet, why NOT coat big harmless shit in an invisible cloak. It’s not like PLANES would want to know they’re there when they’re landing (planned or otherwise) nearby. Oops.. I think we have some kinks to work out. C’est la vie!