Unplanned maintenance and component failures are a concern to both wind plant owners and wind turbine manufacturers. Sandia leads efforts in wind-turbine reliability research, specifically focusing on:
Through this work, Sandia is ensuring that wind energy technology will deliver economical, reliable, clean energy to the nation.
Contact: Josh Paquette – email@example.com
Wind Plant Reliability & Analysis
Example of a benchmark from the Continuous Reliability Enhancements for Wind (CREW) Database and Analysis Program
Sandia works with industry partners to collect and analyze wind turbine reliability data in order to improve the predictability and reliability of wind power generation and operations. Researchers are analyzing proprietary data from industry partners to provide generalized characterizations of wind plant reliability issues and opportunities for improvement. When complete, these databases will allow industry to self-assess their turbines’ performance and make more informed operations decisions that improve power generation.
Contact: Ben Karlson, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sandia National Laboratories’ Infrastructure Assurance and Non-Destructive Inspection Department began as part of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) program to improve the airworthiness of the U.S. commercial aviation fleet, and transition from “safe-life” to “damage tolerant design.” This transition required the development of improved design, inspection, and repair processes, that have since been applied to military aircraft, spacecraft, bridges, automobiles, trains, oil and gas industry equipment, and now wind blades.
The Wind Blade Non-Destructive Inspection Center now includes wind blade inspection specimens and inspection technology specifically suited to wind blades. Real and engineered specimens include all flaws and damage types that are commonly found in wind blades in both manufacturing floor and field settings.
Drawing from experience inspecting composite aviation parts, Sandia has created a set of wind-blade-specific inspection specimens that mimic commonly seen blade flaws—allowing manufacturers to test and refine their equipment to better diagnose blade flaws.
The Wind Blade Non-Destructive Inspection Center provides the following capabilities and expertise:
- Nondestructive Inspection (NDI)
- Automated & Robotic Inspection Deployment
- Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) and Sensor Development
- Composite Fabrication and Structural Repair
- Structural Mechanics & Damage Tolerance Analysis
- Fatigue, Fracture & Strength Mechanical Testing
- Reliability and Probabilistic Analysis
Composite Materials Research
Longer blades present new technical and economic challenges that cannot be addresses without a thorough understanding of composite material behavior in realistic wind applications. Since 1989, Sandia and its partners at Montana State University have tested and reported key data and trends on fiber-reinforced polymers (composites) and other materials used in the construction of wind turbine blade. Developers and researchers can access the results of more than 1600 tests on more than 500 materials in the DOE/SNL/MSU Composites Database.
Coupon testing is used to characterize new composite materials to obtain design properties.
Sandia’s composites research capabilities include:
- Testing the effects of common flaws in composites on properties in fatigue loading
- Characterizing new materials such as urethane resins, aligned strand material forms, and carbon fiber composites
- Studying crack growth and delamination in adhesive and core materials
- Establishing full 3-D properties of thick laminates
- Developing substructure testing capabilities in order to capture the realistic and complex loading experienced by modern wind-turbine blades.
- Incorporating new test diagnostics such as Acoustic Emission Spectroscopy to improve understanding of in-situ material behavior
Contact: Brian Naughton, email@example.com
- John F. Mandell et.al., “Analysis of SNL/MSU/DOE Fatigue Database Trends for Wind Turbine Blade Materials, 2010-2015,” Sandia National Laboratories, Feb. 2016, SAND2016-1441
- John F. Mandell, et. al., “Analysis of SNL/MSU/DOE fatigue database trends for wind turbine blade materials,” Sandia National Laboratories, Dec. 2010, SAND2010-7052.
- John F. Mandell and Daniel D. Samborsky, “DOE/MSU Composite Material Fatigue Database: Test Methods, Materials, and Analysis,” Montana State University, Dec. 1997, SAND97-3002.
Structural Health Monitoring
Sandia develops reliable strategies to detect damage in the rotor blades early enough to allow operators to make operations, maintenance and repair decisions that will reduce costs. Researchers developed a Structural Health and Performance Management System, a cost-effective, simulation-based approach for preventing, detecting and addressing damage. This method bridges the gap between detecting damage in a wind turbine blade and making revenue-optimizing O&M decisions based on the effects of the damage.
Sandia’s Damage Simulation Method
Contact: Todd Griffith, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Griffith, D.T., Yoder, N., Resor, B.R., White, J., Paquette, J., Ogilvie, A., and Peters, V., “Prognostic Control to Enhance Offshore Wind Turbine Operations and Maintenance Strategies,” Proceedings of the European Wind Energy Conference Annual Event (Scientific Track), April 16–19, 2012, Copenhagen, Denmark.
- Griffith, D.T., Yoder, N.C., Resor, B.R., White, J.R., and Paquette, J.A., “Structural Health and Prognostics Management for Offshore Wind Turbines: An Initial Roadmap,” Sandia National Laboratories Technical Report, December 2012, SAND2012-10109.
- Myrent, N., Kusnick, J., Barrett, N., Adams, D., and Griffith, D.T., “Structural Health and Prognostics Management for Offshore Wind Turbines: Case Studies of Rotor Fault and Blade Damage with Initial O&M Cost Modeling,” Sandia National Laboratories Technical Report, April 2013, SAND2013-2735.
- Myrent, N.J., Kusnick, J.F., Adams, D.E., and Griffith, D.T., ““Pitch Error and Shear Web Disbond Detection on Wind Turbine Blades for Offshore Structural Health and Prognostics Management” 54th AIAA/ASME/ASCE/AHS/ASC Structures, Structural Dynamics, and Materials Conference, April 8–11, 2013, Boston, MA, USA, AIAA-2013-1695.
- Griffith, D.T., Yoder, N.C., Resor, B.R., White, J.R., and Paquette, J.A., “Structural Health and Prognostics Management for the Enhancement of Offshore Wind Turbine Operations and Maintenance Strategies,” Wind Energy, September 2013 (DOI: 10.1002/we.1665).
- Myrent, N., Griffith, D.T., et al., “Aerodynamic Sensitivity Analysis of Rotor Imbalance and Shear Web Disbond Detection Strategies for Offshore Structural Health Prognostics Management of Wind Turbine Blades,” 32nd ASME Wind Energy Symposium, National Harbor, MD, USA, January 2014.
- Kusnick, J., Adams, D.E., and Griffith, D.T., “Wind Turbine Rotor Imbalance Detection Using Nacelle and Blade Measurements,” Wind Energy, January 2014 (DOI: 10.1002/we.1696).
- Richards, P.W., Griffith, D.T, and Hodges, D.H., “Structural Health and Prognostic Management: Operating Strategies and Design Recommendations for Mitigating Local Damage Effects in Offshore Turbine Blades,” 70th American Helicopter Society Annual Forum & Technology Display, May 20–22, 2014, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
- Richards, P.W., Griffith, D.T., and Hodges, D.H., “High-fidelity Modeling of Local Effects of Damage for Derated Offshore Wind Turbines,” Journal of Physics Conference Series, Science of Making Torque from Wind Conference, June 18–20, 2014, Lyngby, Denmark.
- Myrent, N.J., Barrett, N.C., Adams, D.E., and Griffith, D.T., “Structural Health and Prognostics Management for Offshore Wind Turbines: Sensitivity Analysis of Rotor Fault and Blade Damage with O&M Cost Modeling,” Sandia National Laboratories Technical Report, SAND2014-15588, July 2014.
- Griffith, D.T., “Structural Health and Prognostics Management for Offshore Wind Plants: Final Report of Sandia R&D Activities,” Sandia National Laboratories Technical Report, SAND2015-2593, March 2015.
Defects in wind turbine blades can have wide range of effects depending on their location, material, type, and size. Because existing inspection procedures from other industries often miss defects, manufacturers overdesign blades to account for possible defects.
Sandia researchers use nondestructive inspection techniques on flawed blade specimens to characterize flaws and determine the ultimate effects of undetected defects.