Composites, Blades, and Nacelle Covers
- 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.
- 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
- 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.