The Iowa Alliance for Wind Innovation and Novel Development (IAWIND) has awarded a $256,689 research grant for the further study of condition assessment involving wind turbine blades.
The recipient, Simon Laflamme, an assistant professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering at Iowa State University, will lead the project, IAWIND says.
According to IAWIND, blade components of wind turbines are associated with the highest failure rates and repair costs. The majority of structural health monitoring of wind turbine blades is conducted offline, using a combination of visual inspections and nondestructive evaluation techniques. Automatic structural health monitoring of blades helps avoid premature breakdowns, reduce maintenance costs, assist with remote monitoring and diagnosis, reduce conservatism in design, and create better knowledge for improved design.
The research team will develop a large-scale flexible membrane that can be deployed on blade beams and spars. The method is much like biological skin, capable of monitoring local deformations over large regions. Preliminary results show that the membrane is capable of damage detection and localization, notes IAWIND.
Additionally, the grant will be matched by Mount Ayr, Iowa-based Heartland Energy Solutions, a provider of 100 kW wind turbines and blades in the moderate-wind-speed market.
Laflamme's co-principal investigators include Iowa State University's Nicola Bowler and Michael Kessler, associate professors of materials science and engineering; Randall Geiger, professor of electrical and computer engineering; and Krishna Rajan, professor of materials science and engineering.