University of Twente Student Theses


Design and optimization of the pultrusion process toproduce reliable and recyclable wind turbine blades

Peperkamp, M.W. (2021) Design and optimization of the pultrusion process toproduce reliable and recyclable wind turbine blades.

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Abstract:Renewable energy production in Europe consisted for 65.3% of wind energy in 2017. Windturbine blades are currently made from thermoset composites. The end of life of these blades is 20 to 30years. Nevertheless they are often already replaced a lot sooner, due to high erosion and better designs being available. The waste from these thermoset blades poses a great environmental problem. The thermoset blades can hardly be recycled, due to the chemical bonds being too strong to be easily broken down or reformed. If a suitable thermoplastic alternative is found, recycling will become much more viable. Due to thermoplastics being easily remelted and remolded. Elium® has the potential to be this suitable thermoplastic, it’s low viscosity allows it to be used in thermoset production lines, while it’s mechanical properties can compete with the curren tthermoset resins. This research will focus on optimizing the pultrusion process for carbon Elium® composites, to enable the production of recyclable spar caps. In this thesis potential improvements to the setup were researched, after which the process variables were studied. The setup has been improved by the addition of a die entrance cooler to prevent resin solidification at the die entrance, and a winch to increase the ease and safety of starting up the production process. The die was improved by incorporating a more robust clamping system. After the improvements, samples of carbon Elium® have been successfully produced. These samples have been subjected to 3 point-bending, nano-indentation and microscopy testing. The flexural modulus and strength were found to be comparable to the values published in literature focusing on thermoplastic pultrusion and promising to reach market quality with some process improvements. There existed internal voids and micro scale cracks in the pultruded samples which varied with the change in pultrusion speed and heater temperatures. The hardness test done using nano-indentation showed means around the expected values for a fully polymerised Elium®. Recommendations are made for the future of this research, including the switch to a 2-part die and a better pulling unit.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:ET: Engineering Technology
Subject:51 materials science, 52 mechanical engineering, 58 process technology
Programme:Mechanical Engineering MSc (60439)
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