Since we last heard from him, Summer Scholar Brian has made progress on his wave energy device model, but that progress has in turn revealed more work to be done:
“With the successful design of the ”Pelamis” prototype it’s now time to reconstruct it using materials that are more durable and can stand up to the wear and tear of public use. The next step for me is to actually incorporate a working public-friendly version of the Pelamis into the wave tank. The first design used wood to attach the hinges to and after a few weeks in the water the wood has started to mold and disintegrate. This upcoming Tuesday I hope to find a replacement material such as PVC or aluminum that won’t corrode in water. Another material that I have to replace is the pipe insulation foam inside the PVC that keeps the whole thing afloat. I have noticed that the foam is getting more and more saturated with water so the buoyancy of the entire device is decreasing. Luckily for me ping pong balls bit perfectly in the 1 ½ in pipe so I am going to try and use those for floatation because they will hopefully never lose their buoyancy.
I am really impressed with the way the model moves in the water right now and I am hoping that the new materials won’t impede or hinder the movements seen with the first prototype. This model does not actually create any energy from the motion of waves. The idea behind the whole design is that the public will be able to create waves in the tank and see how this particular WEC captures the energy of the waves through the snake-like movement. As long as the motion is consistent, it should be fairly simple for anyone to understand how energy is captured.”