Thermoplastic Composites in Energy Generation, the Present and the Future
Victrex Polymer Solutions, Thornton Cleveleys, Lancashire, FY5 4QD, United Kingdom.
Composite materials are finding increasing applications in energy generation both in major structures such as wind turbine blades and tubulars but also in smaller assembly components such as downhole tools.
Crude oil is a complex chemical cocktail, the cocktail varying from oil well to oil well. Some components of crude oil are corrosive in nature, the corrosive species including sulphur, carbon dioxide and chloride ions. The materials of choice within the oil industry have been predominantly metallic but these are susceptible to corrosive attack and in particular stress-corrosion cracking. Polymer-based systems can often provide superior corrosion resistance when compared to metals and this is particularly true of semi-crystalline thermoplastics.
In the wind energy sector the current materials of choice tend to be glass-reinforced thermoset materials. The size of the blades is increasing and the need to reduce weight, in order to limit the inertia of the blades and fatigue stresses at the blade roots, is driving the industry towards conversion from glass fibre to carbon fibre. Other factors which influence the choice of the materials of construction include lightning strike protection, chemical resistance to oil leaks from the mechanical mechanisms and leading edge erosion, the tip speed on large blades being of the order of 180mph (_250 kph). These factors, coupled with potentially faster and better processing techniques, make thermo-plastic matrices a viable alternative to the current thermoset matrices being used.
The presentation will consider current applications of thermoplastic-matrix composites in the energy generation sector and explore potential future applications.
ITHEC 2012 Manuscript B1
Publication date: 30/11/-0001
Manuscript B1 published in Conference Proceedings ITHEC 2012
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