A staged approach to erosion analysis of wind turbine blade coatings

June 09, 2021

David Nash (1), Grant Leishman (1), Cameron Mackie (2), Kirsten Dyer (2), Liu Yang (1)
Coatings, 11, Issue 6, June 2021: 681. DOI: 10.3390/coatings11060681


wind energy; blades; leading-edge erosion; coatings; microscopy; X-ray computed tomography; staged analysis


The current wind turbine leading-edge erosion research focuses on the end of the incubation period and breakthrough when analysing the erosion mechanism. This work presented here shows the benefits of splitting and describing leading-edge erosion progression into discrete stages. The five identified stages are: (1) an undamaged, as-new, sample; (2) between the undamaged sample and end of incubation; (3) the end of incubation period; (4) between the end of incubation and breakthrough, and (5) breakthrough. Mass loss, microscopy and X-ray computed tomography were investigated at each of the five stages. From this analysis, it was observed that notable changes were detected at Stages 2 and 4, which are not usually considered separately. The staged approach to rain erosion testing offers a more thorough understanding of how the coating system changes and ultimately fails due to rain droplet impacts. It is observed that during microscopy and X-ray computed tomography, changes unobservable to the naked eye can be tracked using the staged approach.

How Our Software Was Used

Dragonfly was used to process reconstructed CT images.

Author Affiliation

(1) Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, University of Strathclyde, 75 Montrose Street, Glasgow G1 1XJ, UK.
(2)Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, Offshore House, Albert Street, Blyth NE24 1LZ, UK.