BLADEcontrol technology from Bosch Rexroth analyzes the natural oscillations of the wind turbine blade. The frequencies of any blade are a unique pattern, like a fingerprint, in the range up to approximately 350Hz.
A few points. In the future there will be no gearboxes cutting that expensive part and problem. They will be replaced by larger diameter generators with many more poles instead. GE already is doing it on their new units.
You can't look at a composite part and know if it's ok as delaminations and other problems have little to no visual effect until near fairlure. But a simple microphone can in real time at low cost. To actually find the problem Xray, Ultrasound or other tech is needed though tapping with a hammer can by someone who knows how.
The biggest problem are these huge WT's are really investment vehicles generating loans, commissions, units profits with generating power as a nessasary byproduct.
The real future in WT's are small home, build size units that make/save retail electric cost instead of wholesale electricity thus 2-3x's more cost effective.
WT's scale well into the .5kw size units though studying it a 2kw/16' dia size for most homes can supply their needs in many places.
Another is smaller local wind farms close to the demand as transmission lines for lrager, distant ones can cost as much as the wind farm does!!
They have always said 20 yr life but that has not proven anywhere near tue mostly because they keep increasing size thus don't have time to optimise designs before they are an 'obsolete size'.
Yet many small units from the 30's are still going strong!! A decent WT should have a 30-50 yr life simply to cut maintaince costs.
If 20 years is the current focus, what was the product lifetime rating in the past? I suspect much lower.
With the Siemens 6MW turbine, the current world's largest (dec 2012), I would want a 20 year life at the very least. The 8MW Vestas, set for 2015, will be even larger. I say bump the life to 30 years, then we'll have something.
With a better understanding of materials’ response to load and temperature, researchers could potentially use the knowledge to improve design. The research could even help geologists studying plate tectonics.
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