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Proceedings Paper

Full-field inspection of a wind turbine blade using three-dimensional digital image correlation
Author(s): Bruce LeBlanc; Christopher Niezrecki; Peter Avitabile; Julie Chen; James Sherwood; Scott Hughes
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Paper Abstract

Increasing demand and deployment of wind power has led to a significant increase in the number of wind-turbine blades manufactured globally. As the physical size and number of turbines deployed grows, the probability of manufacturing defects being present in composite turbine blade fleets also increases. As both capital blade costs, and operational and maintenance costs, increase for larger turbine systems the need for large-scale inspection and monitoring of the state of structural health of turbine blades during manufacturing and operation critically increase. One method for locating and quantifying manufacturing defects, while also allowing for the in-situ measurement of the structural health of blades, is through the observation of the full-field state of deformation and strain of the blade. Static tests were performed on a nine-meter CX-100 composite turbine blade to extract full-field displacement and strain measurements using threedimensional digital image correlation (3D DIC). Measurements were taken at several angles near the blade root, including along the high-pressure surface, low-pressure surface, and along the trailing edge of the blade. The overall results indicate that the measurement approach can clearly identify failure locations and discontinuities in the blade curvature under load. Post-processing of the data using a stitching technique enables the shape and curvature of the entire blade to be observed for a large-scale wind turbine blade for the first time. The experiment demonstrates the feasibility of the approach and reveals that the technique readily can be scaled up to accommodate utility-scale blades. As long as a trackable pattern is applied to the surface of the blade, measurements can be made in-situ when a blade is on a manufacturing floor, installed in a test fixture, or installed on a rotating turbine. The results demonstrate the great potential of the optical measurement technique and its capability for use in the wind industry for large-area inspection.

Paper Details

Date Published: 28 April 2011
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 7979, Industrial and Commercial Applications of Smart Structures Technologies 2011, 79790L (28 April 2011); doi: 10.1117/12.879930
Show Author Affiliations
Bruce LeBlanc, Univ. of Massachusetts Lowell (United States)
Christopher Niezrecki, Univ. of Massachusetts Lowell (United States)
Peter Avitabile, Univ. of Massachusetts Lowell (United States)
Julie Chen, Univ. of Massachusetts Lowell (United States)
James Sherwood, Univ. of Massachusetts Lowell (United States)
Scott Hughes, National Renewable Energy Lab. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7979:
Industrial and Commercial Applications of Smart Structures Technologies 2011
Kevin M. Farinholt; Steve F. Griffin, Editor(s)

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