Infusible Thermoplastic Composites for Wind Turbine Blade Manufacturing: Fatigue Life of Thermoplastic Laminates under Ambient and Low-Temperature Conditions

Dylan Cousins, Zach Arwood, Stephen Young, Brandon Hinkle, David Snowberg, Dayakar Penumadu, Aaron Stebner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus Citations

Abstract

Traditionally, thermoset resins such as polyesters (PE) and epoxies are used as the polymer matrix for construction of wind turbine blades. However, concern about their end-of-life treatment garners interest to use thermoplastics for increased recyclability. However, the high viscosity of molten thermoplastics inhibits their use in manufacturing wind turbine blades with injection or compression molding. A recently developed, infusible, reactive thermoplastic resin overcomes this technological barrier. Toward verifying that this recyclable resin is suitable for use in wind turbine blades, a dataset of R = 0.1 and R = 10 fatigue data for glass fiber–reinforced acrylic composites is provided and equal fatigue life to industry standard epoxy and unsaturated PE resin systems is demonstrated. Specifically, R = 0.1 fatigue data for acrylic composites at room temperature and −30 °C for verification of low-temperature performance are tabulated. To elucidate failure mechanisms, in situ mechanical testing with X-ray computed tomography demonstrates that damage accumulation occurs by crack propagation along the fiber–matrix interface under cyclic loading. Infrared (IR) thermography predicts failure points in composites specimens with porosity defects introduced from nonideal manufacturing processes. Furthermore, these manufacturing defects are shown to compromise the fatigue life of the acrylic laminates by an order of magnitude.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number2201941
Number of pages9
JournalAdvanced Engineering Materials
Volume25
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Wiley-VCH GmbH.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5000-85811

Keywords

  • effect of defects
  • fatigue
  • low-temperature
  • thermoplastic composite
  • wind energy

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