Effective prevention of rain erosion on rotor blades
As part of the research project “Development of a method for determining the service life of rotor blade coatings” (BeLeB), tests are performed on the Fraunhofer IWES test bench.
Drop impact system improves damage prognosis
Both the amount and size of the drops as well as the timing and frequency of their impact can be regulated precisely on the rain erosion test bench. Moreover, over the course of the 3-year project, a drop impact system will measure exactly where the drops hit and the damage they cause. The entire test bench is modeled for this with the aid of a CFD simulation. A laser-based inspection system and a high-speed camera are used to document the damage, whereby both the topology of the sample and damage in the micrometer range are recorded. The development of an adequate material and damage model will improve understanding of the processes at material level.
Automatic inspections shorten testing periods
Continuous testing is possible thanks to the use of a laser-based automatic inspection system. The throughput of material samples increases and reliable results can therefore be achieved in shorter testing times. “Current automatic inspection systems in rain erosion test benches do not allow for detailed damage assessment and therefore reach their limits when it comes to deducing reliable damage models”, explained Benjamin Buchholz, Project Manager at Fraunhofer IWES.
Assessment of coating applications
The project partners aim to achieve a further procedural improvement with an ultra-sound-based method to establish the quality of coating application. After all, the product can only develop its full protective effect when it is ensured that application can be performed precisely. The repair process in the field is also supported in order to identify optimization approaches. To this end, damaged material samples are repaired in the climate chamber under environmental conditions and the various procedures are com-pared.
Reducing repairs and maintenance
The goal of the project partners is to improve the effectiveness of known protective mechanisms for rotor blades tangibly. They hope this will reduce the time and money invested in repairs and maintenance. This would represent a major step forward in ensuring the improved profitability and thus enhanced competitiveness of wind energy. The provision of effective rain erosion protection is not only of great interest to operators and maintenance companies, but also to suppliers of protective systems and manufacturers of matrix resins and gel coats.
Partners: Blade Care, DWT, Fraunhofer IWES (coordinator) Fraunhofer IZFP, FreiLacke, Jadewind, Nordex, Ocean Breeze, Senvion