Experimental study on lightning attachment manner to wind turbine blades with lightning protection system

Guo, Zixin and Li, Qingmin and Ma, Yufei and Ren, Hanwen and Fang, Zhiyang and Chen, Chun and Siew, Wah Hoon (2019) Experimental study on lightning attachment manner to wind turbine blades with lightning protection system. IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science, 47 (1). pp. 635-646. 8488666. ISSN 0093-3813

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    Abstract

    Different types of lightning protection systems (LPSs) have been developed for wind turbines to protect the blades from lightning strikes. However, severe damages caused by lightning strikes still happen frequently, which creates huge costs. Experiments using a 5-m blade specimen with tip receptors from 1.5-MW wind turbine blades under 3-m air gap were conducted to investigate the lightning attachment manner to the wind turbine blade with LPS in different situations. Factors including the polarity of the lightning strikes, the orientation of the blade, and the lateral distances (LDs) between the wind turbine blade and the lightning downward leader were taken into account. It was found that the types of discharge paths under positive and negative lightning strikes are quite different, and the positive discharges are much more dangerous to wind turbine blade than the negative ones. The LD between the downward leader and the wind turbine blade is a key factor that influences the interception efficiency. Three types of receptor interception failures were discovered. Multiple upward leaders may incept from the blade body as to intercept the downward leader. However, the protection range of the tip receptor is quite limited, and the connection of the tip receptor and the blade body is the most vulnerable position hit by the lightning strikes. The results present the useful reference to the optimal design of the wind turbine blade LPS.