Journal cover Journal topic
Wind Energy Science The interactive open-access journal of the European Academy of Wind Energy
https://doi.org/10.5194/wes-2017-13
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research articles
11 Apr 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is under review for the journal Wind Energy Science (WES).
Characterization and Mechanical Testing of Manufacturing Defects Common to Composite Wind Turbine Blades
Jared W. Nelson1, Trey W. Riddle2, and Douglas S. Cairns3 1SUNY New Paltz, Division of Engineering Programs, New Paltz, NY
2Sunstrand, LLC, Louisville, KY
3Montana State University, Dept. of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, Bozeman, MT
Abstract. The Montana State University Composites Group performed a study to ascertain the effects of defects that often result from the manufacture of composite wind turbine blades. The first step in this multi-year study was to systematically quantify and database these defects before embedding similar defects into manufactured coupons. Through the Blade Reliability Collaborative, it was determined that the key defects to investigate were fiber waves and porosity. An inspection of failed commercial-scale wind turbine blades yielded metrics that utilize specific parameters to physically characterize a defect. Methods to easily and consistently discretize, measure, and assess these defects based on the identified parameters were established to allow for statistical analysis. Data relating flaw parameters to frequencies of occurrence were analyzed and found to fit within standard distributions. Additionally, mechanical testing of coupons with flaws based on this physical characterization data was performed to understand effects of these defects. Representative blade materials and manufacturing methods were utilized and both material properties and damage progression were measured. It was observed that flaw parameters directly affected the mechanical response. While the data gathered in this first step is widely useful, it was also intended for use as a foundation for the rest of the study; to perform probabilistic analysis and comparative analysis of progressive damage models.

Citation: Nelson, J. W., Riddle, T. W., and Cairns, D. S.: Characterization and Mechanical Testing of Manufacturing Defects Common to Composite Wind Turbine Blades, Wind Energ. Sci. Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/wes-2017-13, in review, 2017.
Jared W. Nelson et al.
Jared W. Nelson et al.
Jared W. Nelson et al.

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Short summary
Given the rapid growth and large scale of wind turbines, it is important that wind farms achieve maximum availability by reducing downtime due to maintenance and failures. The Department of Energy sponsored, Sandia National Laboratory led, Blade Reliability Collaborative was formed to address this issue. A comprehensive study to characterize and understand the manufacturing flaws common in blades, and their impact on blade life, was performed by measuring and testing commonly included defects.
Given the rapid growth and large scale of wind turbines, it is important that wind farms achieve...
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