Researchers in Germany have developed a real-time monitoring technique that they claim could be used to analyse the structural health of wind turbines more effectively than existing methods.
Developed by a team at Oldenburg Univeristy’s ForWind Centre, the new technique combines the use of strain-gauge force sensors with a novel modeling approach based on Stochastic equations.
The team tested their technique on an experimental set-up of undamaged and damaged beam structure which were exposed to a variety of different simulated wind conditions. By carefully analysing the mechanical vibrations of these structures, the team was able to precisely detect any changes in the mechanical properties.
The group claims that the approach could have significant advantages over existing spectral analysis techniques which can be distorted by turbulent working conditions, and are often only effective at detecting major damage.
Ultimately, the technology could be used to identify material fatigue in a range of more complex structures such as such as automotive or airplane parts.