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Wind Energy Science The interactive open-access journal of the European Academy of Wind Energy
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https://doi.org/10.5194/wes-2020-20
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/wes-2020-20
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  31 Mar 2020

31 Mar 2020

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A revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal WES.

Development of a numerical model of a novel leading edge protection component for wind turbine blades

William Finnegan1,2, Priya Dasan Keeryadath3, Rónán Ó Coistealbha3, Tomas Flanagan3, Michael Flanagan3, and Jamie Goggins1,2 William Finnegan et al.
  • 1Civil Engineering, School of Engineering, National University of Ireland Galway, H91 HX31, Ireland
  • 2MaREI Centre, Ryan Institute, National University of Ireland Galway, H91 HX31, Ireland
  • 3ÉireComposites Teo, An Choill Rua, Inverin, Co. Galway, H91 Y923, Ireland

Abstract. As the world shifts to using renewable sources of energy, wind energy has been established as one of the leading forms of renewable energy. However, as wind turbines get increasingly larger, new challenges within the design, manufacture and operation of the turbine are presented. One such challenge is leading edge erosion on wind turbine blades. With larger wind turbine blades, tip speed begin to reach over 500 km per hour. As water droplets impact along the leading edge of the blade, rain erosion begins to occur, increasing maintenance costs and reducing the design life of the blade. In response to this, a new leading edge protection component (LEP) for offshore for wind turbine blades is being developed, which is manufactured from thermoplastic polyurethane. In this paper, an advanced finite element analysis (FEA) model of this new leading edge protection component has been developed. Within this study, the FEA model has been validated against experimental trials at demonstrator level, comparing the deflection and strains during testing and found to be in good agreement. The model is then applied to a full-scale wind turbine blade is then modelled with the LEP bonded onto the blade’s leading edge and compared to previously performed experimental trials, where the results were found to be well aligned when comparing the deflections of the blade. The methodology used to develop the FEA model can be applied to other wind blade designs in order to incorporate the new leading edge protection component to eliminate the risk of rain erosion and improve the sustainability of wind turbine blade manufacture, while increasing the service life of the blade.

William Finnegan et al.

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William Finnegan et al.

William Finnegan et al.

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Latest update: 08 Aug 2020
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Short summary
Leading edge erosion is an ever-existing damage issue on wind turbine blades. This paper presents the numerical finite element analysis model for incorporating a new leading edge protection component for offshore applications, which is manufactured from thermoplastic polyurethane, into wind turbine blade designs. The model has been validated against experimental trials at demonstrator level, comparing the deflection and strains during testing, and then applied to a full-scale wind turbine blade.
Leading edge erosion is an ever-existing damage issue on wind turbine blades. This paper...
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