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Innovation Challenges

Imaging for rain erosion test rig

Issue

Rain erosion rest rigs are used to assess the ongoing damage that rain drops can cause to wind turbine blades. They accelerate the effects of rain on the blade, allowing developers of blade technologies to assess the performance of their chosen materials in harsh offshore conditions. The rigs allow for scaled and accelerated testing of blade materials.

An ongoing challenge for operators of such test rigs is the quality of images used to gather results from the test rig. Current solutions rely on either halting the test rig to take static photos or using an automated camera whilst the rig is operating at slower than normal speeds. Halting the test rig requires the constant attendance of a technician which rapidly increases the cost of the test, as well as length of the test. Automated camera solutions struggle to identify smaller incidents of damage on the samples, especially at low erosion levels, as the samples are either white coatings or shiny metallic materials.

Challenge

Functional Requirements

The imaging solution must be able to capture detailed and accurate images of a material rotating on the test rig. Materials are usually white in colour, or metallic, meaning reflective lighting can be problematic.

Technical Characteristics

Minimum damage size requiring detection can be in the order of microns.

Speed of rotation at outer edge of sample is typically 175m/s.

Depth of damage can range from microns to 3mm.

Deployment Timescale

As soon as possible.

Operating Conditions

High humidity or running water environment although isolation behind glass is possible.

Air Temperatures from 0°C to 35°C.

Cost Requirements

Total system costs including installation should be £30k to £50k.


Current solutions rely on either halting the test rig to take static photos or using an automated camera whilst the rig is operating at slower than normal speeds.

Opportunities

An estimated 40-60 RTOs and blade technologists operate rain erosion test rigs in Europe alone. The market further increases when American and Asian markets are considered. These rigs are relevant to the development of new leading edge protection solutions for both onshore and offshore turbine blades.

Do you have a potential solution?

An estimated 40-60 RTOs and blade technologists operate rain erosion test rigs in Europe alone. The market further increases when American and Asian markets are considered. These rigs are relevant to the development of new leading edge protection solutions for both onshore and offshore turbine blades.

Apply now

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