Academic Partners

Euan Duernberger

PhD Title - Advanced Non-Destructive Testing of Blade Manufacturing Defects

Wind turbine blades are one of the most costly and complicated components of the wind turbine. Blades are now approaching 100m in length and are manufactured using carbon and/or glass fibre reinforced plastic composites. Non-destructive testing (NDT) methods are utilized to identify defects so to reduce operational maintenance costs and extend lifetimes.

Ultrasonic testing techniques are the most suitable NDT method with the data/image analysis typically performed by trained NDT experts. The aerospace industry now employs improved, contactless scanning methods, coupled with detection algorithms and machine-learning techniques. The application of similar methods to large wind turbine blades will enable more efficient and cost-effective inspections resulting in overall benefits for clean energy production.
A review of current ultrasonic NDT techniques for composite materials will be conducted and the most applicable for the wind industry identified. These will be tested on small blade samples, provided by industrial partner Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy. Following on from this, processes are to be up-scaled with the aim of developing mature and fully automated inspection, and image analysis, techniques used in large-scale blade manufacturing.

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Start Date - October 2018

Degree - MPhys Physics, Heriot Watt University