Montana State University researchers have added acoustic emission and digital image correlation instrumentation to enhance the data collection capabilities of the substructure test fixture.

Montana State University researchers have added acoustic emission and digital image correlation instrumentation to enhance the data collection capabilities of the substructure test fixture.

Wind-turbine blade growth continues to have the largest impact on energy capture and levelized cost of energy (LCOE) reduction. While the 40–45 meter blade is today’s mainstream segment, it is estimated that blades over 50 m will be the global norm by 2020, as the industry continues to develop higher-power-rating and lower-wind-speed turbines. This considerable growth in blade length drives challenging technical and economic demands on blade designers requiring a constantly improving understanding of composite material behavior in realistic wind applications.

Tensile coupon showing acoustic sensors clamped onto sample along with extensometer.

Tensile coupon showing acoustic sensors clamped onto sample along with extensometer.

To address this continued need, Sandia has partnered with Montana State University (MSU) since 1989 to test and report key data and trends of fiber-reinforced polymers (composites) and other materials used in the construction of wind turbine blades.  As of 2015, researchers at MSU have compiled the results of over 16,000 tests on 500 materials into a publicly available database along with technical papers explaining key trends to meet this critical industry need.

Glass-A [90/0]s coupon of showing three distinct frequency ranges of acoustic emission as a function of applied strain.

Glass-A [90/0]s coupon of showing three distinct frequency ranges of acoustic emission as a function of applied strain.

Recent additions to the blade materials database include

  • unidirectional and +45 static and fatigue results for three epoxy resin systems (Hexion 035, 135, and 145) with fiberglass fabrics;
  • static and fatigue results for Materia pDCPD and glass-fiber composites; and
  • updated references, contacts, links to complete reports discussing data.

The latest database (v.24.0) is available for download here.

Related publications can be accessed on Sandia’s website and the MSU Composite Technologies Research Group website.