Solutions to abrasion and erosion in wind generator vanes
Wind generator vanes can suffer degradation by erosion, particularly at their outer edge, produced by particles (dust, sand, etc.) which are present suspended in the air. Because of this, the ever increasing presence of wind parks in zones of extreme climate make it puts an onus on optimising the protection coating material, with the aim of guaranteeing good yields, even in the most extreme conditions.
The main parameters that affect this phenomenon are, on the one hand, gel-coat characteristics (type, hardness, thickness) and lineal velocity of the vane; on the other hand, the concentration and typo (hardness, granulometry) of the abrasive particles. Of course, the time of exposure of the vanes to an aggressive environment is the determining factor for the appearance of this effect.
The optimisation of gel-coat characteristics on wind generator vanes has been the main objective of the project in which INASMET, Basque technological center, has participated with in conjunction with vane manufacturers, FIBERBLADE.
The project is based on the study and quantification of the properties and characteristics of the gel-coat habitually employed with vanes and the various systems of alternative protection. The factors selected as most relevant for a good protection against external agents were: erosion, adherence, flexibility, lengthening of break, hardness and resistance to atmospheric agents.
One of the main activities pf this project was the development of specific trials in which the determining erosion factors are reproduced in a very realistic manner. The end aim is to enable a comparison of laboratory tests on various coatings to determine which is the most suitable to counter the effects of erosion.
The characterisation of specifications of the protection systems was undertaken using a test matrix, the comparative results of which have enabled the enhancement of gel-coat behaviour in aggressive environments in countering erosion, providing greater adherence and flexibility and less absorption of water than with the gel-coat usually employed.
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