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Title: Eddy current pulsed thermography for non-destructive evaluation of carbon fibre reinforced plastic for wind turbine blades
Authors: Cheng, Liang
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: The use of Renewable energy such as wind power has grown rapidly over the past ten years. However, the poor reliability and high lifecycle costs of wind energy can limit power generation. Wind turbine blades suffer from relatively high failure rates resulting in long downtimes. The motivation of this research is to improve the reliability of wind turbine blades via non-destructive evaluation (NDE) for the early warning of faults and condition-based maintenance. Failure in wind turbine blades can be categorised as three types of major defect in carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP), which are cracks, delaminations and impact damages. To detect and characterise those defects in their early stages, this thesis proposes eddy current pulsed thermography (ECPT) NDE method for CFRP-based wind turbine blades. The ECPT system is a redesigned extension of previous work. Directional excitation is applied to overcome the problems of non-homogeneous and anisotropic properties of composites in both numerical and experimental studies. Through the investigation of the multiple-physical phenomena of electromagnetic-thermal interaction, defects can be detected, classified and characterised via numerical simulation and experimental studies. An integrative multiple-physical ECPT system can provide transient thermal responses under eddy current heating inside a sample. It is applied for the measurement and characterisation of different samples. Samples with surface defects such as cracks are detected from hot-spots in thermal images, whereas internal defects, like delamination and impact damage, are detected through thermal or heat flow patterns. For quantitative NDE, defect detection, characterisation and classification are carried out at different levels to deal with various defect locations and fibre textures. Different approaches for different applications are tested and compared via samples with crack, delamination and impact damage. Comprehensive transient feature extraction at the three different levels of the pixel, local area and pattern are developed and implemented with respect to defect location in terms of the thickness and complexity of fibre texture. Three types of defects are detected and classified at those three levels. The transient responses at pixel level, flow patterns at local area level, and principal or independent components at pattern level are derived for defect classification. Features at the pixel and local area levels are extracted in order to gain quantitative information about the defects. Through comparison of the performance of evaluations at those three levels, the pixel level is shown to be good at evaluating surface defects, in particular within uni- directional fibres. Meanwhile the local area level has advantages for detecting deeper defects such as delamination and impact damage, and in specimens with multiple fibre orientations, the pattern level is useful for the separation of defective patterns and fibre texture, as well as in distinguishing multiple defects.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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