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Composites, Blades, and Nacelle Covers

Iowa State University
The University of Iowa
University of Northern Iowa

Iowa State University

Areas of Expertise

  • Material testing of composites
  • Design of composite material parts
  • Nondestructive evaluation
  • Delamination damage in composites
  • Self-healing composite materials
  • Thermal analysis of composites
  • Cure cycle optimization
  • Manufacturing of polymer matrix composites
  • Polymer nanocomposites
  • Bio-based polymers and composites
  • Developing advanced alloys
  • Noninvasive monitoring of damage state during usage and understanding of the evolution of damage
  • Impact damage and quantitative assessment of the resulting hidden damage
  • System level modeling and measurement of the three-dimensional vibration of wind turbine towers, rotors, and blades; identification of blade vibration sources; aero elastic modeling of blades, dynamic transient response simulations
  • Novel lightweight composites for wind turbine blades; fabrication of prototype materials by chemical vapor deposition and electro-spinning

Special Facilities and Centers of Excellence

  • Center for Nondestructive Evaluation (CNDE) investigates innovative methods for characterizing composite materials and structures which are applicable to their fabrication, initial inspection, and inservice testing. Eighteen faculty members are associated with CNDE. CNDE has extensive experience in the Nondestructive Evaluation (NDE) of composite components for use in the aerospace industry including multi-year programs funded by the Federal Aviation Administration, US Air Force and NASA (with research of $3-5 million per year). Several projects are associated with blade inspection for aircraft propellers and jet engines, including both metal and composite materials. Similar geometries exist in wind turbine designs. Efforts include ultrasonic, x-ray, eddy current, microwave, infrared and thermal inspection of composites, the assessment of the effectiveness, or reliability, of the developed inspection techniques, and their integration into life prediction methodologies. Included are techniques to measure the degree of cure, fiber waviness and porosity during processing as well as the moisture uptake, thermal degradation and impact damage during service.

The University of Iowa

Areas of Expertise

  • Fatigue and fracture mechanics
  • Computer-aided analysis and design
  • Multi-body dynamics
  • Computational fluid dynamics
  • Reliability-based design optimization
  • Virtual prototyping
  • Icing of turbine blades in winter weather
  • Lightweight composite materials
  • Computer modeling of structures and mechanical system
  • Shape and topology design optimization of structures and mechanical systems

Special Facilities

  • Low-Turbulence Wind Tunnel provides an ideal facility for turbine/tower testing. It has a 1.8-m wide, 1.5-m high, and 7.3-m long rectangular test section and a 2.5-m diameter vane-axial fan which yields a maximum speed of 40 m/sec in the working section. Among its notable features are: a high degree of mean-flow uniformity, 0.05% turbulence level, and almost total optical access to the test section. The tunnel has been specifically designed to accommodate the latest three-dimensional Laser-Doppler
    Velocimeter and multi-sensor vorticity probes to measure all three components of instantaneous vorticity.
  • Icing Wind Tunnel consisting of a portable wind tunnel was fabricated so that it can be located at an outdoor test site, or inside the Low-Turbulence Wind Tunnel. It can produce wind speeds up to 27 m/s and has nozzles to release water droplets into the air stream at a distance of about 6 m upstream of the test section. Size and areal distribution of water the droplets can be controlled. A two-component Laser-Doppler Velocimeter is used for measuring droplet velocities.

University of Northern Iowa

Areas of Expertise

  • Mechanical, physical and chemical properties testing for byproduct utilization

Center of Excellence

  • Materials Innovation Service (MIS) assists Iowa manufacturers in the research and development of products containing recycled content materials. The MIS offers the latest in mechanical, physical, and chemical properties testing on a wide range of materials to companies replacing mainstream materials with new and innovative composites such as cast metal, plastics and bio-materials. The MIS has also served in a consulting capacity and would be fully capable of tailoring its test services to meet
    the particular product development needs of any wind energy company.