I know, I said I wasn’t going to post anything else ’til I got back from vacation, but I was channel-surfing last night and came upon a program that was discussing a ‘tether challenge’. Of course I was immediately hooked.
It seems that one of these new wind turbine ideas was being discussed; you’ve probably seen the videos of one;
Anyway, they need a strong tether to a) hold this thing from flying away and b) conduct electricity into the grid. They had a ‘tether challenge’ between a steel cable (diameter unspecified) and a cable made out of Vectran (diameter of .9 inches and copper-clad to conduct electricity).
Rather than match them directly against each other, they had the cables lift a series of cars. The steel cable broke when attempting to add the fourth car to the load. The Vectran cable came through with flying colors and was able to lift all six cars they had.
The rest of the show was about the wind turbine itself.
The show was titled “Infinite Winds” and is part of the “Discovery Project Earth” series shown on (naturally enough) the Discovery Channel. I don’t know if it’s going to be re-broadcast anytime soon, but if it is, you might want to check it out.