Mapping raindrop erosion of GFRP composite wind turbine blade materials : perspectives on degradation effects in offshore and acidic environmental conditions

Rasool, Ghulam and Middleton, Anna C and Stack, Margaret M (2019) Mapping raindrop erosion of GFRP composite wind turbine blade materials : perspectives on degradation effects in offshore and acidic environmental conditions. Journal of Tribology. ISSN 0742-4787 (In Press)

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    Abstract

    Climate change has forced the world to create renewable energy that is capable of sustaining future energy requirements globally. The generation of renewable energy at a comparatively lower cost is a major challenge for this industry. Unforeseen weather conditions and polluted environments have a significant effect on the degradation of structural materials of renewable energy devices. For the investigation of droplet erosion behaviour of the advanced material for the wind turbine blades, experimental work was carried out on a glass fibre reinforced epoxy (GFRE) composite in different environments. A whirling arm rig was used for this experimental work in a laboratory simulated rainfall conditions at a constant tip speed of the rotor blade. Three types of rainwater were used for a range of angles of attack from 15 to 90⁰ in an increment of 15⁰. Erosive wear maps have been constructed to show the weather, location, polluted environment and raindrop erosion effects on the degradation of the wind turbine blade material. This map predicts that erosion and the saline and acidic atmospheres act synergistically on the blade material, which results in delamination between the fibre layers, pit formation, development of micro stresses leading to reinforcement fibre.