Erosion mapping of through-thickness toughened powder epoxy gradient glass-fiber-reinforced polymer (GFRP) plates for tidal turbine blades

Hassan, Emadelddin and Zekos, Iasonas and Jannson, Philip and Pecor, Toa and Floreani, Christophe and Robert, Colin and Ó Brádaigh, Conchúr M. and Stack, Margaret M. (2021) Erosion mapping of through-thickness toughened powder epoxy gradient glass-fiber-reinforced polymer (GFRP) plates for tidal turbine blades. Lubricants, 9 (3). 22. ISSN 2075-4442

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    Abstract

    Erosion of tidal turbine blades in the marine environment is a major material challenge due to the high thrust and torsional loading at the rotating surfaces, which limits the ability to harness energy from tidal sources. Polymer-matrix composites can exhibit leading-blade edge erosion due to marine flows containing salt and solid particles of sand. Anti-erosion coatings can be used for more ductility at the blade surface, but the discontinuity between the coating and the stiffer composite can be a site of failure. Therefore, it is desirable to have a polymer matrix with a gradient of toughness, with a tougher, more ductile polymer matrix at the blade surface, transitioning gradually to the high stiffness matrix needed to provide high composite mechanical properties. In this study, multiple powder epoxy systems were investigated, and two were selected to manufacture unidirectional glass-fiber-reinforced polymer (UD-GFRP) plates with different epoxy ratios at the surface and interior plies, leading to a toughening gradient within the plate. The gradient plates were then mechanically compared to their standard counterparts. Solid particle erosion testing was carried out at various test conditions and parameters on UD-GFRP specimens in a slurry environment. The experiments performed were based on a model of the UK marine environment for a typical tidal energy farm with respect to the concentration of saltwater and the size of solid particle erodent. The morphologies of the surfaces were examined by SEM. Erosion maps were generated based on the result showing significant differences for materials of different stiffness in such conditions.

    ORCID iDs

    Hassan, Emadelddin, Zekos, Iasonas ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1940-7877, Jannson, Philip, Pecor, Toa, Floreani, Christophe, Robert, Colin, Ó Brádaigh, Conchúr M. and Stack, Margaret M. ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6535-6014;