Ultrasonic Propagation Imaging for Wind Turbine Blade Quality Evaluation
Soundness of wind turbine blade plays paramount role in supplying cheap and reliable wind energy. To ensure that blades are sound and free from inherent manufacturing defects, easy and reliable quality evaluation before delivering blades for installation is crucial. We propose an ultrasonic amplitude imaging method based on Ultrasonic Propagation Imaging (UPI) system for this purpose. The system utilizes a scanning Q-switched continuous wave laser as ultrasonic wave generator. Various acousto-ultrasonic sensors, either contact or non-contact type, could be adopted as ultrasonic receiver. The system was tested on a blade section made of glass fiber reinforced plastic sandwiched with balsa wood. The leading edge of the specimen with a kissing disbond was inspected. A PZT-based sensor attached temporarily on the outer surface of a blade was used for ultrasonic reception to demonstrate that this imaging method is applicable even for the blades without integrated sensor. The amplitude map clearly showed the disbond defect with the kissing features. The location, shape, and size of the defect evaluated from the result agree excellently with the actual defect. The result proved that the proposed method works well for the quality evaluation of wind turbine blades. Inheriting the advantages of UPI technology, i.e. focusing-free characteristics, acceptance of large laser incident angle up to 60°, and rapid scanning without needing an expensive scan gantry, this system is suitable for automatic quality evaluation of blades with different geometry. On top of that, this system does not require any reference data, making it a flexible quality evaluation system suitable for different methods of blade production flow.
Joong Hee Lee
J. R. Lee et al., "Ultrasonic Propagation Imaging for Wind Turbine Blade Quality Evaluation", Advanced Materials Research, Vols. 123-125, pp. 847-850, 2010