Bayer conducted tests to compare the properties of epoxy and vinyl ester resin systems with a polyurethane resin system. Two sets of long-flow vacuum infusion experiments were designed to compare the flow rates of the two different resins. The research team also studied the effects on the properties of fiber-reinforced composites by including multi-walled carbon nanotubes.
The team found that the nanotubes helped improve the fracture toughness of the composites. "Incorporation of a small amount of multi-walled carbon nanotubes improves the fracture [toughness] of both polyurethane and epoxy composites by as much as 48 percent," Younes said in a second press release. "The addition of carbon nanotubes is a viable option to improve the strength of wind turbine blades."
The tests were part of a recent study funded in part by a Department of Energy grant for the development of stronger composite materials for wind blades. The grant also helped fund development of the Baydur polyurethane system and will fund additional research comparing the performance of new polyurethane resin systems with those of traditional epoxy and vinyl ester resins used for wind blades.
Bayer has also developed the Baydur Resin Transfer Molding (RTM) custom polyurethane system for making wind turbine root rings and blades, as well as lightweight structural components for the transportation industry. The custom formulation improves process efficiency by offering a faster demold time than epoxy. The wall thickness of parts can be decreased, yet the material is stronger than polyester, resulting in lighter parts that maintain strength.
Yes, the technology that's getting developed in one of those gov/industry/university projects works to grab winds that are not pointing in such a way as to spin stationary blades while at the same time optimizing the spin by adjusting the blade positions.
Aldo, thanks for your input on the complex algorithms required to optimize the operation and performance of components such as blades. Beth, I'd also think that motion sensors and accelerometers would probably also be involved.
Funny you should raise the issue of idle turbine blades. We have one fairly large wind turbine located in my town and I have say, most of the time I drive by it, it sits idle. We live in a coastal community and the wind turbine is fairly near a pretty good size river that flows directly into the Atlantic. Needless to say, coastal winds are a big deal here. Again, despite the proximity to all this, the blades are spinning far less than I ever thought they would.
That said, I imagine the turning of the blades to adapt to wind direction has to be where it's at for future development. I would guess in addition to CAD and CAE software, intelligent sensors, embedded software, and some sort of accelerometer technology would be critical, perhaps??
Hi, this is interesting for the energy industry because wind power is highly expected to become a major source or energy for many countries. Nowadays it is very attractive for investors to invest in a wind power plant when the resource is good instead of investing in a fossil fuel utility plant. I have studied new methods for optimization of turbine components like blades by using programming techniques like genetic algorithms combined with CAD/CAE software to increase efficiency of energy conversion, reduce size and weight of components and making the technology more affordable. More information about genetic algorithms used for wind blade development can be read in the following link: http://mozart.dis.ulpgc.es/Gias/Publications/mendez-greiner.pdf
I would also expect that reducing the weight of the blades could help boost overall performance. With the emphasis on offshore installations and much larger turbines, the weight of the blades is a huge factor for design, installation and maintenance.
Blade control is one of the areas where potential technology developments could improve the efficiency of wind turbines. Today, most turbines are using independent pitch control where each blade is independently controlled by a servo actuator. But all of the blades respond to the same command as they go through their cycle. Individual pitch blade control provides real-time feedback from blades or monitoring devices, and one approach is to embed sensors into the blades for real time load feedback. The system closes the loop at the turbine level using that feedback to significantly reduce the load variation from blade to blade. The result is an ability to handle peak gusts better and more quickly.
Oh, I get it. I didn't realize you meant not only getting the most out of a particular gust of wind, but keeping them going in the first place, so they are turning whenever there's wind instead of staying idle just because there's wind but not going the right way.
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