One-piece wind turbine blade – New generation of Powder-Epoxy resins systems

Composite expert Dr. Conchúr Ó Brádaigh (NUI) talked to CFK-Valley Stade Convention-Team about that new technology

CFK-Valley Stade Convention
(PresseBox) ( Stade, )
“One-shot wind turbine blade manufacturing using powder-epoxy and electrically-heated ceramic composite tooling” is the title of Dr. Ó Brádaigh’s lecture at the 7th International CFK-Valley Stade Convention, 11-12 June. Dr. Ó Bràdaigh is Senior Lecturer an the National University of Ireland, Galway.

It’s not a secret – the wind industry is one of the fastest growing branches, with lots of economical potential – even for reinforced composites. Dr. Conchúr Ó Brádaigh is a leading international expert in composite materials, with 31 papers in refereed journals, 58 papers in conference proceedings, 5 articles and chapters in books and 15 invited presentations and tutorials. Within his presentation at the CFK-Valley Stade Convention, he allows an abstract in the run-up:

“My lecture “One-Shot Wind Turbine Blade Manufacturing using Powder-Epoxy and Electrically-Heated Ceramic Composite Tooling” describes the development of manufacturing processes for glass fibre reinforced powder-epoxy composites, aimed primarily at large industrial wind turbine blades. The advantages of the powder-epoxy material are its low cost, high performance and simplification of manufacturing steps for production of large enclosed hollow structures. The powder material is solid at room temperature, but melts without a chemical cure at temperatures between 70°C and 100°C. This enables the pre-forming or pre-consolidation of the uncured glass-fibre epoxy blade elements such as shear webs, skins and spar caps. These individual elements are then cooled to room temperature and re-assembled into the cure tooling for rapid curing at approx. 200°C.

The chemistry of the powder-epoxy resins involves a very low exothermic reaction which allows rapid curing of thick sections of the wind turbine blade.”, Dr. Ó Brádaigh explained and continued: “Special electrically-heated ceramic composite tooling has been developed in order to efficiently heat the large structures to above 200°C, which is the cure temperature of the powder-epoxy materials. Special-purpose gel-coats and surface sealing layers are employed to ensure a smooth, vacuum-tight surface. The tooling is lightweight, strong and durable, and has a low coefficient of thermal expansion. Electrical heating power per square metre of tool surface is typically between 5.0 and 15.0 KW/sq.m. Individual controllers can be employed to provide optimum control of the surface temperature. The integrally-heated ceramic composite tooling provides a more cost-effective and durable tooling system for processing composites at these temperatures than either polymer composite or metal tooling.

The new technologies are used in the mass production of 13.0m long blades for a 225kW wind turbine. Resulting advantages include a shorter production cycle time (<8 hours for the finished blade), less production steps, lower environmental impact, and more competitive pricing than state of the art resin-infusion, pre-preg or hand-layup solutions. The production of large carbon-fibre reinforced structures for the wind energy, civil engineering and aerospace sectors using the powder-epoxy technology is also discussed.” ends Dr. Ò Brádaigh his abstract.

Learn more about the Dr. Conchúr Ó Brádaigh’s presentation – on 11 June, at the CFK-Valley Stade Convention in Stade.

Register now and save your seat at the leading expert CFRP-Conference, 11-12 June 2013, Stade (Germany). The CFK-Valley Stade Convention is central platform for technical exchange on highest level in the field of CFRP-Technology. The focal point of this year’s „Latest Innovations in CFRP Technology“. Number of participants is limited to 450, hence the need to register as soon as possible:
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