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Extreme testing for rotor blades

 “Wind turbines are growing bigger and bigger – the diameter of their rotor blades could soon reach 180 meters. But that creates a need for larger test rigs capable of accommodating the blades for load testing. One of the largest-ever experimental test rigs, for blades measuring up to 90 meters in length, will shortly go into operation. … The Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy and Energy System Technology (IWES) in Bremerhaven is preparing for these outsized rotor blades. In early summer IWES will be inaugurating a new facility with the capability of testing rotor blades up to 90 meters long. The central feature of the new test facility will be a tiltable 1000 metric tons steel and reinforced concrete mounting block. Hydraulic cylinders used to tilt the block and additional cylinders to load the blade will allow the IWES engineers to bend a rotor blade as easily as a finger to a blade of grass. Preparations for testing begin by firmly mounting the flange of the rotor blade to the tilt block while the tip of the rotor blade projects upwards at a slight angle. Loading cables are attached at various locations along the blade and to hydraulic cylinders mounted on the floor. When all the cables and hydraulic cylinders are in place, the loading and tilting are initiated. As the tilt block is rotated and the tip of the blade begins to move upward, the rotor blade bends as its upward movement is counteracted by the loading cables pulling downwards. This unique testing setup allows for the blade tip of 90 meter blades to be bent through a distance of 25 meters.” Read more at http://www.fraunhofer.de/en/press/research-news/2010-2011/16/extreme-testing-for-rotor-blades.jsp
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