Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Abstract

Smart structures technologies seek to apply some added capability to existing or new structures. This capability may be sensorial (strain and damage monitoring) or active (active damping and shape control). Expected benefits are a higher safety level of the structure, and a lower Life Cycle Cost, by decreasing maintenance costs.

This Project has been the first attempt worldwide to apply Smart technologies to Wind turbine blades. Safety and maintenance costs are two major issues in wind turbines, due to their special operating conditions (remote sites, difficulties for dismounting and inspecting the blades,...). Wind energy industry would benefit immediately from any advance in this direction.

Project results may be grouped in three main blocks:

A) LOAD MONITORING SYSTEM, based on optical fibre grating sensors. These are the most advanced strain sensors presently available. A manufacturing facility has been developed at UPMAD, producing fibre gratings of narrow spectral width and good mechanical strength, surviving up to 10,000 microstrains. An optoelectronic equipment has also been developed, able to scan up to 40 gratings simultaneously.

B) STRUCTURAL HEALTH MONITORING SYSTEM based on little piezoelectrics chips. A few number of these sensors, adequately distributed through the structure, and interconnected to a PC, will afford information on the vibration modes of the structure, in a very cost effective way.

C) COMPUTER SIMULATION OF A BLADE WITH ACTIVE DAMPING. An existing aerolastic computer code (EOLO-t) was modified to simulate a time-dependent variation of stiffness at the blade root. Numerical simulation of the dynamic loads alleviation on the blade were obtained under different control functions. It was concluded that this is not a practical approach to alleviate dynamic loads on the blade.

The project concluded with the manufacturing by means of standard industrial methods of a glass fibre / epoxy matrix blade, 12 m long, with em

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