The requirements of large-scale wind turbines are at the boundaries of current blade manufacturing technology. Modern wind turbines are demanding ever longer and lighter blades than current manufacturing methods can produce. The Powderblade project addressed this by bringing to market stronger, lighter, and more structurally efficient carbon/glass hybrid wind blades.
Wind turbine blades ranging from the smallest up to the largest have traditionally been manufactured in a vacuum infusion process. With increasing blade length, the level of control over the quality of the finished product decreases considerably leading to heavier, over-designed blades. Powderblade aimed to replace this process through the use of ÉireComposites’ powder epoxy technology. The powder epoxy materials were demonstrated in wind energy applications so as to eventually be made available to other industries such as marine, automotive and construction.
It is expected that the outputs of Powderblade will change the way large wind turbine blades are manufactured, transported and installed, leading to a step improvement in the cost and performance.
Horizon 2020 POWDERBLADE project was aimed at developing large (60m+) commercial wind turbine blades. The aims of the project were to reduce blade cost and weight without compromising reliability and performance, by introducing a carbon/glass fibre hybrid composite spar and leveraging novel powder epoxy resin technology. A 6.0m torsion box demonstrator was designed by Suzlon Energy, manufactured by EireComposites, and tested by the University of Edinburgh. The tests followed the DNVGL-ST-037612 blade test specification and applied four critical load cases identified during its design. The test cases were performed in ascending load order, after which the lowest load case was repeated. The torsion box demonstrated no reduction in stiffness or natural frequency throughout the test. This work gives a detailed description of the test program carried out to validate the torsion box design.
The paper below is a summary of the test programme for the 6 metre wind blade torsion box prototype undertaken at the University of Edinburgh in 2019.