Sustainable Vacuum-Infused Thermoplastic Composites for MW-Size Wind Turbine Blades—Preliminary Design and Manufacturing Issues

[+] Author and Article Information
K. van Rijswijk

 Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Aerospace Engineering, Kluyverweg 3, 2629 HS, Delft, The NetherlandsK.vanRijswijk@LR.TUDelft.NL

S. Joncas1

 Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Aerospace Engineering, Kluyverweg 3, 2629 HS, Delft, The Netherlands

H. E. Bersee, O. K. Bergsma, A. Beukers

 Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Aerospace Engineering, Kluyverweg 3, 2629 HS, Delft, The Netherlands


Also at: École de Technologie Supérieure, Faculty of Automated Manufacturing, 1100 Notre-Dame Ouest, Montréal, H3C 1K3, Canada.

J. Sol. Energy Eng 127(4), 570-580 (Jun 21, 2005) (11 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2037107 History: Received March 18, 2005; Revised June 21, 2005

This paper addresses the feasibility of using innovative vacuum infused anionic polyamide-6 (PA-6) thermoplastic composites for MW-size wind turbine blades structures. To compare the performance of this fully recyclable material against commonly used less sustainable thermoset blade materials in a baseline structural MW-size blade configuration (box-spar/skins), four different blade composite material options were investigated: Glass/epoxy, carbon/epoxy, glass/PA-6, and carbon/PA-6. Blade characteristics such as weight, costs, and natural frequencies were compared for rotor blades ranging between 32.5 and 75m in length, designed according to both stress and tip deflection criteria. Results showed that the PA-6 blades have similar weights and natural frequencies when compared to their epoxy counterpart. For glass fiber blades, a 10% reduction in material cost can be expected when using PA-6 rather than epoxy while carbon fiber blades costs were found to be similar. Considering manufacturing, processing temperatures of PA-6 are significantly higher than for epoxy systems; however, the associated cost increase is expected to be compensated for by a reduction in infusion and curing time.

Copyright © 2005 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

Anionic polymerization of ε-caprolactam into polyamide-6, using a hexamethylene-1,6-dicarbamoylcaprolactam activator and caprolactam magnesiumbromide as initiator

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Figure 2

Final degree of conversion for various “C20-C1” formulations

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Figure 3

Indicative resin costs for various “C20-C1” formulations (Caprolactam: 1.45€∕kg, C20: 11€∕kg, C1: 15€∕kg). Source: DSM, June 2004

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Figure 4

Processing window for anionic PA-6 containing 0.6mol% C20 activator and 1.2mol% C1 initiator: (a) conversion in time as function of polymerization temperature, (b) minimum allowable pressure to prevent boiling of the resin

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Figure 5

Vacuum infusion process for anionic PA-6 developed at the Delft University of Technology

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Figure 6

Parametric parameters used to guide the aerodynamic blade design. The parameters are expressed in function of blade length (R).

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Figure 13

Campbell diagram for a 5500kW turbine

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Figure 7

Comparison of benchmark rotors against large commercial wind turbine rotor data: (a) Rated power vs blade length, (b) RPM vs blade length

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Figure 8

Cross-section model used to compute stresses in nonhomogeneous and nonsymmetrical beams

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Figure 9

Cantilever beam model used to compute the local blade element deflection and slope of the deflection curve

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Figure 10

Typical residue plot of nonrotation blades

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Figure 11

Blade mass vs blade length based on both maximum stress and tip deflection criteria

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Figure 12

Blade material costs vs blade length




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