In last year’s Space Elevator Games Climber / Power-Beaming event, the University of Michigan’s MClimber achieved the distinction of being the first Climber to make it to the top of a competition ribbon. They are entered again this year, but have been very quiet about what they are going to do (psst – there are no Climbers entered from Appalachian State, so it’s safe 🙂 )
In this article, Engineers from the University of Michigan have come up with this “By mimicking a brick-and-mortar molecular structure found in seashells, University of Michigan researchers created a composite plastic that’s as strong as steel but lighter and transparent.”
The traditional understanding of how carbon nanotubes will be used to construct the Elevator is by weaving or bonding ultra-long fibers together (at least that’s my understanding). This approach from the U of M is different and may present an alternative way of creating a tether. Yes, I know, there are issues with doing it this way. But this is “rev 1” of this approach and it may turn out to have some promise.
And if it does, next year we may see a University of Michigan entrant into both the Climber / Power Beaming event and the Tether event. Here’s hoping…