Wind turbines

Advanced Forming Research CentreWind turbine blade inspection

The metrology team at the AFRC and Centre for Ultrasonic Engineering (CUE) at the University of Strathclyde are engaged in a project that will reduce operations and maintentance costs, downtime and increase energy yield.

The in-situ blade inspection project will remotely inspect the structural health of an operating blade by assessing captured images. Early detection of incipient defects will minimise intensified loading, maintain structural integrity and maximise blade life-cycle.

The objective is to use drones with photogrammetry payload to assess the blade condition. With sufficient depth-of-field, an algorithm will stitch together the acquired images to provide an overview of blade condition and defect detail.

A feasibility study of in-situ non-destructive testing for inspection of wind turbine blades to:

  • Efficiently and accurately assess the condition of the blade using remote inspection techniques.
  • Evaluate automated technologies to assess blade structural integrity.
  • Explore future possibilities to integrate remote blade inspection with a repair application.

Upon completion, the project will have successfully demonstrated the feasibility of automated inspection of onshore wind turbines featuring glass fibre reinforced plastic rotor blades.

Duration: August 2016 – June 2017


There is a stakeholder community associated with the in-situ blade inspection and repair project who are involved in high value manufacturing and are interested in the project outputs.

To date, we have registered interest from Gaia-Wind and Kingspan Wind – both located in the West of Scotland.

Gaia-Wind have contributed a 6.25 m commercial wind turbine blade for inspection purposes as have Kingspan Wind with a 268 cm domestic wind turbine blade.

Members of the community receive regular updates on the project and are invited to workshops to discuss the project. Community members may also have opportunities to trial some of the in-process developments.  If you are interested in joining the stakeholder community, please get in touch.


Project coordinator: Dr Kenneth Burnham, AFRC, University of Strathclyde, UK.

+44 (0)141 534 5566