The aim is to integrate smart structures concepts in the manufacturing of wind turbine blades, so as to contribute to an early detection of incipient damage and thus minimize maintenance costs.
Two main aspects will be considered. The first concerns the development, manufacturing and testing of a Structural Health Monitoring System, based on a network of optical fibres with the following specific goals:
- identification of the most adequate sensors and their qualification against different failure modes
- manufacturing of a blade with the developed built-in damage assessment system
- evaluation of the ability of the optical fibre system to detect manufacturing defects and of its aptitude as a standard quality control with eventual improvements.
The second aspect to be tested is the active damping. The objective is to establish through computer simulation the requirements for an on-line intelligent system capable to alleviate the dynamic stresses in the blade.
The optical fibres can play the dual role of sensor and information channel and can be easily embedded into the composite blade during its manufacturing. Their impact on the mechanical properties of the laminate is negligible if they are properly oriented. Newly developed Brag gratings are very sensitive to strain and cost efficient. Our previous lab tests have also shown that OF have an early response to some damage modes of the composite, such as bearing failure in bolted joints.
The project objectives will be realized by:
- model development for a reliable active system
- selection of the appropriate sensor; elaboration of an embedding technique and an algorithm for the exploitation of the data supplied by the sensor.
- manufacturing and testing of a prototype smart blade.
Expected Achievements and Exploitation
If it can be established that a reliable system for permanent inspection can be integrated into the blade, the consequences on future blade design, maintenance costs procedures and life cycle would be significant. The potential of Smart Structures Concepts is so large that a practical experience on how to apply it to wind turbine blades, identifying the weaknesses of their implementation is likely to turn out valuable.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
7602 KD Almelo
19009 Raphina (Pikeermi)