Research Papers: Alternative Energy Sources

A New Vascular System Highly Efficient in the Storage and Transport of Healing Agent for Self-Healing Wind Turbine Blades

[+] Author and Article Information
Rulin Shen

College of Mechanical and
Electrical Engineering,
Central South University,
932 Lushan South Road,
Changsha 410083, China;
Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee,
115 E. Reindl Way,
Glendale, WI 53212

Ryoichi S. Amano

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee,
115 E. Reindl Way,
Glendale, WI 53212
e-mail: amano@uwm.edu

Giovanni Lewinski

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee,
115 E. Reindl Way,
Glendale, WI 53212

Arun Kumar Koralagundi Matt

Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee,
115 E. Reindl Way,
Glendale, WI 53212

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Advanced Energy Systems Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF ENERGY RESOURCES TECHNOLOGY. Manuscript received September 4, 2018; final manuscript received February 17, 2019; published online April 4, 2019. Editor: Hameed Metghalchi.

J. Energy Resour. Technol 141(5), 051212 (Apr 04, 2019) (8 pages) Paper No: JERT-18-1689; doi: 10.1115/1.4042916 History: Received September 04, 2018; Revised February 17, 2019

Self-healing wind turbine blades offer a substantial offset for costly blade repairs and failures. We discuss the efforts made to optimize the self-healing properties of wind turbine blades and provide a new system to maximize this offset. Copper wire coated by paraffin wax was embedded into fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) samples incorporated with Grubbs' first-generation catalyst. The wires were extracted from cured samples to create cavities that were then injected with the healing agent, dicyclopentadiene (DCPD). Upon sample failure, the DCPD and catalyst react to form a thermosetting polymer to heal any crack propagation. Three-point bending flexural tests were performed to obtain the maximum flexural strengths of the FRP samples before and after recovery. Using those results, a hierarchy of various vascular network configurations was derived. To evaluate the healing system's effect in a real-life application, a prototype wind turbine was fabricated and wind tunnel testing was conducted. Using ultraviolet (UV) dye, storage and transport processes of the healing agent were observed. After 24 h of curing time, Raman spectroscopy was performed. The UV dye showed dispersion into the failure zone, and the Raman spectra showed the DCPD was polymerized to polydicyclopentadiene (PDCPD). Both the flexural and wind tunnel test samples were able to heal successfully, proving the validity of the process.

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Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Three-dimensional model representations of copper wires placed between fiberglass sheets. Top, copper wires in center layer. Center, copper wires in penultimate layers. Bottom, overlapping copper wires forming a grid in center layer.

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Fig. 2

Lengthwise photograph of the FRP self-healing blade under UV light highlighting DCPD filled vascular network at the center of the blade

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Fig. 3

For optical examination, the samples were polished by 200, 1000, and 2000 grit silicon carbide emery papers progressively. Micrographs were taken using a stereo-microscope for review. Borosilicate pipette with 25% storage efficiency (left: [11]). Cavity produced by copper wire with 100% storage efficiency (right).

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Fig. 4

Flexural testing results for FRP samples 1–4, showing sample 2 with the highest original and recovered flexural strength of the test samples

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Fig. 5

Recovery analysis for flexural tested FRP self-healing samples 2 and 3, showing sample 3 with marginally higher recovery rate in comparison to sample 2

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Fig. 6

Four test stages that samples filled with luminescent healing agent under UV light underwent during flexural testing: (a) initial unloaded stage; (b) preyield stage with small-scale cracking releasing DCPD; (c) large-scale fracture and sample yield stage resulting in further release of DCPD; (d) final load removal stage

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Fig. 7

Fabricated wind turbine installed in a wind tunnel producing a 16.5 m/s wind speed. The test blade is shown oriented downward with mounted 110 g weight to increase load and induce failure.

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Fig. 8

Photographs of self-healing turbine blade under UV light. Photograph of test blade before testing showing the presence of the healing agent (left). Photograph of test blade after testing revealing healing agent transport from one cavity (right).

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Fig. 9

Bond diagram showing DCPD responding to ROMP reaction to crosslink and create PDCPD [16]

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Fig. 10

Raman spectra are depicting the band changes of DCPD during ROMP reaction [16]

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Fig. 11

Raman spectra taken at the crack of the test blade highlighting the bands present after 24 h of self-healing



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