Sensor detects mechanical stress in wind turbines

Sensor detects mechanical stress in wind turbines

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By eeNews Europe

Rotor blades, which are typically made for fibre composite materials like the sensor itself, it is essential to keep mechanical loads within safe boundaries to ensure operational reliability and longevity of such installations. Exceeding these limits – which can easily happen if no proper sensors are in place – leads to micro bursts, minute fractures in the compound materials or adhesives which cannot be identified visually but which permanently reduce the stability of the component. This makes unforeseen failures with far-reaching consequences more likely. The µepsL sensor system helps to prevent such failures, the company says.

The design structure of fibre composite materials leads to a permanently robust application or integration of the sensors. This in turn guarantees an ideal coupling of the signal. In addition, the sensors feature a very high signal/ noise ratio, comparable to seismic sensors. The measurement signal generation is based on the piezo effect: Torsion generates an electric voltage proportional to the force used. Not entirely new, but the µepsL offers a significantly higher sensitivity and directionality than conventional strain sensors or piezoelectric sensors. For this reason, it records vibrations, strain, acceleration and structure-borne noise even at very low amplitudes, but within the impressive frequency range from 1 mHz (Milli-Hertz) to 500 kHz. The manufacturer, a spin-off of the Würzburg university, provides advanced algorithms that explores large amounts of data to identify and visualise complex conditions.

With these features, the µepsL sensors can be applied to only to components made of fibre composite (such as rotor blades) but also to large rolling bearings. In addition, they are compatible with numerous conventional standard measurement systems, which enables uses to retrofit the latter ones with the µepsL sensors. What’s more, compared to conventional single-use rotor blade sensors the costs are 50% lower.

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