Material and structural testing to improve composite tidal turbine blade reliability

Type Article
Date 2022-06-15
Language English
Author(s) Davies PeterORCID1, Dumergue Nicolas1, Arhant MaelORCID1, Nicolas Erwann2, Paboeuf Stephane3, Mayorga Pedro4
Affiliation(s) 1 : IFREMER, Centre Bretagne 29280 Plouzané, France
2 : Sabella, 7, rue Félix Le Dantec, 29000 Quimper, France
3 : Bureau Veritas Marine & Offshore, 4 rue Duguay, Trouin 44800 Saint Herblain, France
4 : EnerOcean SL, Bulevar Louis Pasteur 5, Of.321, 29010 Málaga, Spain
Source International Marine Energy Journal (2631-5548) (European Wave and Tidal Energy Conference), 2022-06-15 , Vol. 5 , N. 1 , P. 57-65
DOI 10.36688/imej.5.57-65
Note EWTEC 2021 Special issue papers (Part 1)
Keyword(s) Composite blade, Durability, Full scale test.

Most tidal turbine blades are currently made from glass or carbon fibre reinforced epoxy composites. These represent a significant part of the turbine cost, but few data are available either to validate current safety factors or to propose alternative more environmentally-friendly materials. This study, performed within the EU H2020 RealTide project, aimed to provide these data. First, a detailed investigation of the static and fatigue behavior was performed at the coupon scale, including not only those materials currently used, but also alternative recyclable thermoplastic matrix composites and natural fibre reinforced materials. Tests were performed before and after seawater saturation, in order to quantify the change in design properties with water uptake. Then a first full scale 5 meter long composite blade was designed and tested to failure. A specific test frame was built, allowing loads up to 75 tons to be applied and simulating the applied moments corresponding to service loads. Static and cyclic loads were applied and extensive instrumentation was used to detect changes in behavior, inluding optical fibres implanted during manufacture, acoustic emission recording, and specific instrumentation developed within the project. The results have enabled numerical simulations to be verified, and this has provided confidence in the modelling tools. These were then employed in order to propose an improved design of a lower cost blade.

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