Fastblade: A Technological Facility for Full-Scale Tidal Blade Fatigue Testing
22 Pages Posted: 27 Mar 2023
Fatigue testing of tidal turbine blades requires the application of cyclic loads without the ability to match the natural frequency of the blade due to their high stiffness and the associated thermal issues of testing composite materials at those frequencies (i.e., 18-20 Hz). To solve this, loading the blades with an auxiliary system is necessary; in most cases, a conventional hydraulic system tends to be highly energy demanding and inefficient. A regenerative digital displacement hydraulic pump system was employed in the FastBlade fatigue testing facility, which saved up to 75% compared to a standard hydraulic system. A series of equivalent target loads were defined using Reynolds-Averaged Navier Stokes (RANS) simulations (based on on-site collected water velocity data) and utilised in FastBlade to demonstrate an efficient way to perform fatigue testing. During the test, a series of measurements were performed on the blade response and the Fastblade test structure itself, providing novel insights into the mechanical behaviour of a blade, and enabling improved testing practice for FastBlade. The blade withstood 20 years (equivalent) of accelerated fatigue loading without catastrophic failure. This test data will enable FastBlade to identify improvements to the testing procedures.
Keywords: Testing, Fatigue, Tidal Steam Blades, Composites
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