In the future, large wind turbines will be placed offshore in considerable numbers. Since access will be difficult and costly, it is preferable to use monitoring systems to reduce the reliance on manual inspection. The motivation for the effort reported here is to create the fundamental basis necessary for the use of sensors as a structural health monitoring system for wind turbine blades. This includes creating knowledge that will allow sensor signals to be used for remotely identifying the presence and position of any damage, the damage type and severity, and a structural condition assessment of the wind turbine blades that can integrate with existing SCADA tools to improve management of large offshore wind farms, and optimise the manual inspection/maintenance effort. Various sensor types, which have previously been identified as technically (and economically) capable of detecting the early development of significant damage in fibre reinforced composite, are investigated. In each case specific approaches have been proposed, developed and implemented in models or laboratory test specimens. The sensor approaches are based on acoustic emission (various passive and active applications including mobile sensors), fibre optics (including a new microbend transducer design and various Bragg-grating based applications), wireless approaches involving both battery and energy harvesting options, and inertia sensor based system identification approaches able to deal with linear periodic systems. In addition to the sensor investigations, a life-estimate approach for the wind turbines is described based on identifying and characterising critical material failure modes then integrating detailed models of damage progression rates into full scale models of the blade structure under operating loading regimes. The application of sensors is addressed during a full-scale blade test and recommendations are made regarding improvement to the commercial blade certification process of test and inspection, sensor use for monitoring in-service structural response, and the need for dedicated research facilities providing multi-scale and multifunctional testing of structures.
Vindenergi; Risø-R-1639; Risø-R-1639(EN)
Main Research Area:
Denmark. Forskningscenter Risoe. Risoe-r
Danmarks Tekniske Universitet, Risø Nationallaboratoriet for Bæredygtig Energi, 2008