Rain erosion testing
Rain erosion testing

Advanced erosion tests

Wind turbines are constantly exposed to harsh weather and other conditions that can cause serious damage. The leading edges of turbine blades are particularly vulnerable and must therefore be protected by special measures. To evaluate how effective Leading Edge Protection (LEP) products of this kind really are, it is necessary to simulate the relevant conditions.

Tests of products for protecting blade leading edges against rain and particle erosion
At PolyTech’s accredited test center in Bramming, Denmark, we perform erosion tests using facilities that meet and surpass the prevailing industry standards. Our highly qualified staff are experts in using the specialist equipment designed to test coatings and materials created to protect the leading edges of turbine blades.

Rain erosion
We perform rain erosion tests using a rotating arm that exposes the test objects to the desired amount of water at the desired speed (typically 160 m/s at the blade tip) and for the desired intervals. Depending on the method applied, it is also possible to run tests at different temperatures and using droplets of different sizes.

Each test run features three test objects in the form of GFR profiles profiles to which the customer has fitted the LEP solution.

If photo documentation of the erosion is required, the test is stopped every 30 minutes – or in accordance with the customer’s test specification – to allow photographs to be taken of the test object. Relevant data are also logged throughout the test run.

Combination tests
Rain is not the only factor that causes erosion of blade leading edges and systems for protecting these edges. In most cases, UV radiation, salt mist, sand and other airborne particles will also contribute to the detrimental effects. These factors can cause leading edge protection solutions to erode earlier and faster than expected. This should therefore also be included in the overall assessment of the performance of the leading edge in connection with a rain erosion test.

PolyTech’s test center can put together fully customized test programmes that reflect the specific requirements so as to ensure the best possible assessment basis.

Calibration
PolyTech performs a reference run every four weeks. This allows us to be sure that our test equipment always lives up to our customer’s stringent requirements on accuracy and uniform quality. At the same time, the ongoing reference tests make it possible for our customers to perform direct comparisons between test results, irrespective of the time at which the tests were performed.

 

 

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