Virtually nobody could have failed to notice that wind turbines have been getting bigger and bigger over recent years. The reason behind this development is that wind farm operators want to increase their output while making more efficient use of their location. However, this growth in size also puts greater demands on the technology being used. Rotor blades in particular are becoming increasingly sensitive to cyclical loads, which means that the downside to this continuous growth is a shorter service life. That is why the Institute of Composite Structures and Adaptive Systems at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) is researching and developing various technologies in the "Smart Blades" project in order to help reduce loads. Thanks to a demonstrator that the institute is bringing to HANNOVER MESSE 2016, visitors to the fair can find out a lot more about the approaches the research team is taking and their progress so far.
The institute is currently working on two concepts - a largely passive technology based purely on a combination of structural and aerodynamic properties and an active approach that utilizes special drives. The demonstrator at the fair is an example of the active technology, which utilizes a flexible actively controlled trailing edge that can influence the uplift on the rotor blade, rather like the flaps on an aircraft wing. Compared with adjusting the entire rotor blade, this approach has the advantage of significantly reducing the moving mass at the active trailing edge, which results in faster adjustment times and smaller drive elements. These developments are intended either to boost service life or reduce structural mass without affecting the service life or size of blades.
German Aerospace Center (DLR) / Institute of Composite Structures and Adaptive Systems (38108 Braunschweig, Germany), Hall 2, Stand C16