“introduction of thermoplastic composite materials”
Off-shore wind turbines operate under harsh conditions and despite the critical technical requirements for strength and stability, the materials must be cost-efficient and recyclable.
The key innovation in WALiD was to develop the technology required to produce highly durable blades able to withstand these conditions by improving the design of the blade root and shear web, replacing the shell core with thermoplastic foam materials and developing a new thermoplastic coating.
With funding received from the European Union’s Seventh Framework programme for research, technological development and demonstration the WALiD partners developed highly durable thermoplastic foams and composites, a thermoplastic coating with high erosion and UV resistance and an innovative automated fibre placement process for layup of hybrid fibre tapes, resulting in a lighter blade with an improved design and an increase in service life.
Sandwich materials were made from thermoplastic foams and fibre-reinforced plastic to form the outer shell of the blade and carbon-fibre reinforced thermoplastics were used for areas of the blade required to support the greatest load. To speed up the manufacture process and aid cost-efficiency a modular designed shear web and new ultralight, stiff materials with increased mechanical properties were developed. A thermoplastic coating was created to provide a protective surface layer. In order to support this development, a new predictive model was validated to model the relationship between surface properties and erosion resistance.
> Learn more about the project partners.