Wind Energy

Efficient use of wind energy through innovative structural materials

The objective of the project is to develop methods to increase the longevity and reliability of wind energy rotor blades. For this purpose, the participants improve the material properties and optimise design processes in order to reduce the mass of rotor blades of wind turbines. Further, a new type of Condition Monitoring System (CMS) is developed to increase the dependability of wind turbines. 

 

Summary

The central function in converting wind energy into electrical energy depends upon rotor blades. There is a great interest in system monitoring and improving the properties of rotor blade material, as rotor blades get increasingly damaged leading to idle time for the wind turbine and thus causing downtime in producing electricity.

The project participants followed a comprehensive procedure, by which measures were taken at various stages of the production process and service life of rotor blades. The problem formulation and the working plan can be divided into two main categories: On the one hand, the mass of the rotor blades of wind turbines should be reduced by improving the material properties and optimising design procedures. On the other hand, the durability of wind turbines should be increased by a newly developed approach to monitor the condition of the rotor blades. The  materials examined for achieving both objectives was fibreglass-reinforced plastics with nano-particle modified matrix materials. Within the framework of the work, various types of particles were examined with respect to their (thermo-) mechanisms and electrical properties.

Results:

  • Composite materials with nano-particle modified matrix systems can also be successfully produced on a pilot-plant scale by means of an infusion process with homogenous particle distribution.
  • Condition monitoring of glassfibre- epoxide composites with nano-particle modified matrix systems is possible by determining local electrical resistance.
  • Defects can be detected and localised through a sensor network of various surface electrodes in the component.
  • Certain mechanical properties of composites such as inter-fibre fracture and material fatigue can be improved by modifying the matrix systems with nano-particles.

More Project Informations

Project title:  Verbundprojekt: Effizientere Nutzung von Windenergie durch innovative, sensitive Strukturwerkstoffe mit verbesserten mechanischen Eigenschaften

Project number:  01RI05236, 01RI05237, 01RI05238

Project period:  2006 - 2010

Project region:  Germany (Hamburg, Lower Saxony)

Project contact:

Herr Dr.-Ing. Fabel

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Source: German National Library of Science and Technology Hannover (TIB)