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Kite Membrane UV Degradation Solution

Its well known that ordinary kites suffer greatly from extended UV exposure. On the other hand, fabric covered airplanes are known to live in sun happily enough; even a decade outdoors is not too unusual, as long as the fabric is minimally maintained & passes annual inspection.

It turns out that aluminum paint pigment traditionally protects airplane fabric from UV. A thin aluminum coating can similarly extend the lifespan of "industrial" kite fabric without much added cost or weight.

CoolIP                       ~Dave Santos           2011           M

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Commentary is welcome:

  • Solar-energy conversion via kite surfaces
  • Dan Parker wonders about how electrically conductive fabric in a kite system will affect the system.
    • Conductivity is good. You can even buy fiberglass cloth that is 40% aluminum by weight to help deal with lightning.    ~~ Bob
    • Conductivity of the kite itself seems like a minor issue, as all sorts of aircraft are aluminum & take lightning strikes with only minor damage. Conductivity of a tether seems like the more dangerous condition, especially if breakaway drags the long conductor across power lines. There seems to be greater risk proportional to a longer conductive path. Fortunately nonconducting UHMWPE lines are fairly UV resistent.

      Metallic oxides of aluminum or titanium are UV resisting options that reduce or eliminate electrical conductance...