A novel powder-epoxy towpregging line for wind and tidal turbine blades

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Abstract

A novel material and process was developed using fibre-reinforced powder-epoxy to produce unidirectional towpreg with a pilot-scale towpregging line, for cost-effective production of large composite structures for the renewable energy market, specifically for wind and tidal turbine blades. Electrostatic attraction was used to coat fibre tows with powder epoxy and either joule or radiant heating employed to heat and melt the polymer, followed by consolidation between rollers. Unidirectional carbon-fibre and basalt-fibre reinforced polymer laminates (UD-CFRP and UD-BFRP, respectively) were manufactured from the towpreg. Tensile test results showed that the towpregging process could be employed to achieve high performance UD-CFRP with 0° tensile properties that are similar or better than commercially-available UD-CFRP systems. The competitive advantages of the powder-epoxy towpreg system include lower cost, better overall manufacturing control for vacuum-bag-only manufacturing and the ability to co-cure parts together at a later stage. Mechanical test results showed some variation between two types of UD-BFRP, but the results compared well with published data on UD-BFRP and equivalent glass-fibre reinforced polymer (GFRP) systems. Finally, the influence of hygrothermal ageing due to water immersion on the tensile properties of the materials was investigated, with tests revealing that the water ageing effect was more severe in the case of UD-BFRP than for UD-CFRP.
Original languageEnglish
Article number108443
JournalComposites Part B: Engineering
Volume203
Early online date6 Oct 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2020

Keywords

  • Powder-epoxy
  • towpregging
  • joule heating
  • carbon fibres
  • basalt fibres
  • hygrothermal ageing

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