Wind turbine blades are exposed to harsh environments which affect the long term durability of the blades

Project Insights

  • €118,959

    Total Project Costs
  • 1 yr

    Project Duration
  • 2019

    Year Funded

Project Description

Leading edge erosion of wind turbine blades is a significant issue for the wind energy sector, leading to reduced energy output and increased maintenance costs. To this end, this project aims to investigate rain erosion resistance of leading edge protection material systems, and to characterise their material properties. Currently, there are a number of protective materials available that reduce or eliminate leading edge erosion on rotor blades. However, limited data and information is available to wind farm operators to assist in their decisions on adopting such materials. Therefore, in order to bridge the gap, the research team will compile characterisation and performance data for the available leading edge protection materials and technologies, through mechanical and droplet impingement testing. The droplet impingement test will be performed in the Whirling Arm Rain Erosion Rig (WARER) facility at University of Limerick (UL), which was developed in 2009. This world-class, validated experimental testing facility allows test specimens to be subjected to droplet impingement at velocities typical for wind turbine blades. As this test closely mimics the erosion mechanisms present during the operation of wind turbines, it will allow the research team to assess and rank the materials investigated. These results will provide wind farm operators with knowledge required when selecting leading edge protective materials and increase the design life of their turbines. This will, in turn, reduce maintenance costs, along with creating a more efficient and sustainable Irish wind energy sector.

Project Details

Total Project Cost: €118,959

Funding Agency: SEAI

Year Funded: 2019

Lead Organisation: University of Limerick (UL)

Partner Organisation(s): National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG)

Collaborators: Energy Composites Teo

Trevor Young

Lead Researcher