Energy Central News

Curated power industry news from thousands of top sources.

News

Patent Issued for Manufacture of a wind turbine blade (USPTO 11131289)

  • Oct 19, 2021
  • 40 views
Source: 
Engineering Business Daily

2021 OCT 19 (NewsRx) -- By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Engineering Business Daily -- From Alexandria, Virginia, NewsRx journalists report that a patent by the inventors Field, Craig (Southampton, GB), Hawkins, Jason (Isle of Wight, GB), Wardropper, Steve (New Milton, GB), filed on June 14, 2017, was published online on September 28, 2021.

The patent’s assignee for patent number 11131289 is Vestas Wind Systems A/S (Aarhus N., Denmark).

News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: “BACKGROUND TO THE INVENTION

“Modern wind turbine blades typically comprise a hollow shell made up of two half-shells bonded together along leading and trailing edges of the blade. Two longitudinally-extending shear webs are typically provided inside the internal cavity of the blade. Each shear web comprises two longitudinally-extending mounting flanges that are bonded to opposed inner surfaces of the respective half-shells. As such, the shear webs bridge the two half-shells.

“The shear webs are load-bearing components that serve to strengthen and stiffen the blade. It is therefore important that a strong bond is achieved between the mounting flanges of the shear webs and the inner surfaces of the half-shells as the integrity of the blade is dependent on the quality of the adhesion.

“To bond a shear web mounting flange to the inner surface of a half shell, adhesive is applied to the inner surface of the half-shell along a predefined shear web mounting region extending longitudinally along the length of the blade. The shear web is then manoeuvred into position such that the bonding surface of the mounting flange is arranged against the adhesive. Thereafter, the shear web and half-shell are moved together to compress the adhesive between the bonding surfaces of the mounting flange and half-shell. The adhesive is then allowed to cure.

“Compressing the adhesive is necessary to create a high-quality bond between the shear web and the half-shell. However, during compression some adhesive is squeezed out of the region between the bonding surfaces, thus reducing the thickness of the bondline. It can be difficult to control the compression of the adhesive and in some cases the adhesive may be compressed too far so that too much adhesive is squeezed out of the bondlines leaving insufficient adhesive in the bondlines between the blade shell and the mounting flanges of the shear webs. With insufficient adhesive in the bondlines, the mounting flanges of the shear web may have a tendency to flex against the blade shell resulting in a so-called ‘kissing bond’, which may be difficult to detect using non-destructive testing methods.

“The present invention has been devised to mitigate or overcome at least some of the above-mentioned problems.”

As a supplement to the background information on this patent, NewsRx correspondents also obtained the inventors’ summary information for this patent: “According to an aspect of the invention, there is provided a wind turbine shear web, the shear web having a flange. The flange extends longitudinally and comprises a bonding surface for bonding to an inner surface of a wind turbine blade. One or more protruding features protrude from the bonding surface.

“The protruding features may prevent the bonding surface of the flange from approaching too close to the inner surface of a wind turbine blade to which the flange is to be bonded. In this regard, the protruding features may function as depth stops and may ensure that a minimum separation is maintained between the bonding surface and the inner surface of the wind turbine blade.

“If adhesive is provided in the region between the bonding surface and the inner surface of the wind turbine blade, then the protruding features may prevent too much adhesive from being squeezed out of that region. Therefore, the protruding features may ensure a minimum thickness of adhesive is present in the bondline between the bonding surface and the inner surface of the wind turbine blade and hence ensure a high-quality bond.

“The depth or height of the protruding features (i.e. the distance by which the features protrude from the bonding surface) is selected in dependence on the desired minimum thickness of adhesive between the bonding surface and the inner surface of the wind turbine blade. The protruding features may protrude from the bonding surface by approximately 0.5 to 5 mm. The protruding features preferably protrude from the bonding surface by approximately 2 to 3 mm.

“The one or more protruding features may comprise one or more longitudinally extending ridges. The one or more protruding features may comprise a plurality of ridges that are mutually spaced apart in a lateral direction across the width of the flange. This advantageously ensures the stability of the flange when arranged against the inner surface of a wind turbine blade. A minimum thickness of adhesive is therefore ensured across the width of the flange.”

The claims supplied by the inventors are:

“1. A wind turbine blade shear web comprising: a web panel having first and second edges; and first and second flange structures, each flange structure including: a flange extending longitudinally and including a bonding surface for bonding to an inner surface of a wind turbine blade, the bonding surface having one or more protruding features configured to extend toward the inner surface of the wind turbine blade; wherein the protruding features protrude from the bonding surface by approximately 0.5 to 5 mm; and an upstand extending from a surface of the flange opposite the bonding surface of the flange, wherein at least a portion of the upstand of the first and second flange structures is positioned inside the web panel at respective first and second edges.

“2. The shear web of claim 1, wherein the one or more protruding features are formed integrally with the flange.

“3. The shear web of claim 1, wherein the flange is a pultruded component.

“4. The shear web of claim 1, wherein the one or more protruding features comprise one or more longitudinally extending ridges.

“5. The shear web of claim 4, wherein the one or more ridges extend along the length of the flange.

“6. The shear web of claim 4, wherein the one or more ridges are continuous along the length of the flange.

“7. The shear web of claim 4, wherein the flange comprises a plurality of ridges that are mutually spaced apart in a lateral direction across the width of the flange.

“8. The shear web of claim 4, wherein the flange comprises first and second peripheral ridges that are respectively laterally spaced inwardly of first and second longitudinal edge regions of the flange.

“9. The shear web of claim 4, wherein the flange comprises a central ridge located substantially centrally between first and second longitudinal edges of the flange.

“10. The shear web of claim 9, wherein the central ridge and the upstand are aligned in a lateral direction.

“11. The shear web of claim 1, wherein the flange comprises a main portion defining the bonding surface and first and second longitudinal edge regions defining first and second longitudinal edges of the flange, wherein the first and second longitudinal edge regions have a reduced thickness relative to the thickness of the main portion.

“12. The shear web of claim 1, wherein the flange comprises reinforcing fibres in a cured resin matrix.

“13. The shear web of claim 12, wherein the protruding features comprise unidirectional reinforcing fibres and a portion of the flange comprises reinforcing fibres oriented in more than one direction.

“14. The shear web of claim 1, wherein the shear web comprises a longitudinally extending web panel and the flange is arranged transversely to the web panel.

“15. A wind turbine blade comprising a shear web as claimed in claim 1, wherein the flange is bonded to an inner surface of the blade by means of adhesive and the bonding surface of the flange is spaced apart from the inner surface of the blade with a layer of adhesive between the bonding surface of the flange and the inner surface of the blade.

“16. The wind turbine blade of claim 15, wherein the one or more protruding features are in contact with the inner surface of the blade.

“17. A method of making the shear web as claimed in claim 1, the method comprising forming the shear web flange by: providing a pultrusion die defining an aperture having a shape corresponding to a cross-sectional shape of the flange; drawing resin-coated fibrous material through the aperture; and curing the resin.

“18. The method of claim 17, wherein the fibrous material comprises fibrous tape.

“19. The method of claim 17 wherein the fibrous material comprises a combination of unidirectional fibres and fibres arranged in more than one direction.

“20. A method of making a wind turbine blade comprising: providing a shell portion of the wind turbine blade having an inner surface; providing a shear web as claimed in claim 1; applying adhesive to the inner surface of the shell portion and/or to the bonding surface of the flange of one of the first or second flange structures; arranging the bonding surface of the flange opposite the inner surface of the shell; and providing relative movement between the shear web and the shell portion such that the adhesive is squeezed between the inner surface of the shell portion and the bonding surface of the flange.

“21. The method of claim 20, further comprising continuing to provide said relative movement until the one or more protruding features make contact with the inner surface of the blade shell.

“22. A wind turbine blade shear web comprising: a flange extending longitudinally and including a bonding surface for bonding to an inner surface of a wind turbine blade, the bonding surface having one or more longitudinally extending peripheral ridges configured to extend toward the inner surface of the wind turbine blade, wherein the peripheral ridges protrude from the bonding surface by approximately 0.5 to 5 mm; wherein an upstand extends from a surface of the flange opposite the bonding surface of the flange, wherein a central ridge is located substantially centrally between first and second longitudinal edges of the flange, and wherein the central ridge and the upstand are aligned in a lateral direction.”

For additional information on this patent, see: Field, Craig. Manufacture of a wind turbine blade. U.S. Patent Number 11131289, filed June 14, 2017, and published online on September 28, 2021. Patent URL: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=11131289.PN.&OS=PN/11131289RS=PN/11131289

 

(Our reports deliver fact-based news of research and discoveries from around the world.)

 

Discussions
Spell checking: Press the CTRL or COMMAND key then click on the underlined misspelled word.

No discussions yet. Start a discussion below.

Get Published - Build a Following

The Energy Central Power Industry Network is based on one core idea - power industry professionals helping each other and advancing the industry by sharing and learning from each other.

If you have an experience or insight to share or have learned something from a conference or seminar, your peers and colleagues on Energy Central want to hear about it. It's also easy to share a link to an article you've liked or an industry resource that you think would be helpful.

                 Learn more about posting on Energy Central »