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Root Causes and Mechanisms of Failure of Wind Turbine Blades: Overview  

Author:  | Technology

Abstract – A review of the root causes and mechanisms of damage and failure to wind turbine blades is presented in this paper. In particular, the mechanisms of leading edge erosion, adhesive joint degradation, trailing edge failure, buckling and blade collapse phenomena are considered. Methods of investigation of different damage mechanisms are reviewed, including full scale testing, post-mortem analysis, incident reports, computational simulations and sub-component testing. The most endangered regions of blades include the protruding parts (tip, leading edges), tapered and transitional areas and bond lines/adhesives. Computational models of different blade damage mechanisms are discussed. The role of manufacturing defects (voids, debonding, waviness, other deviations) for the failure mechanisms of wind turbine blades is highlighted. It is concluded that the strength and durability of wind turbine blades is controlled to a large degree by the strength of adhesive joints, interfaces and thin layers (interlaminar layers, adhesives) in the blade. Possible solutions to mitigate various blade damage mechanisms are discussed.

Schema of locations of often-observed damage mechanisms of a wind turbine blade.

Results of the survey of blade service companies: Frequency of wind turbine blade failure mechanisms depending on the age of wind turbines. Reprinted from Boopathi et al with kind permission from John Wiley and Sons.

Leon Mishnaevsky, Jr.
Department of Wind Energy, Risø Campus, Technical University of Denmark, Roskilde, Denmark

Materials 2022, 15(9), 2959; doi:10.3390/ma15092959

Download original document: “Root Causes and Mechanisms of Failure of Wind Turbine Blades: Overview

This material is the work of the author(s) indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this material resides with the author(s). As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Queries e-mail.

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