Multilayer Leading Edge Protection systems of Wind Turbine Blades: A review of material technology and damage modelling

A Antoniou, K Dyer, William Finnegan, Robbie Herring, Bodil Holst, Jakob Ilsted Bech, Ioannis Katsivalis, Tazefidan Kutlualp, Julie J.E. Teuwen, More Authors

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

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In the immediate future, wind power will provide more electricity than any other technology based on renewable and low-emission energy sources. As a result, the size of offshore wind turbines has increased to harvest more wind energy in order to achieve the 2050 EU carbon neutral targets. The use of composites opens great prospects in the design and manufacture of the wind turbine blades due to their optimization versatility but composites perform poorly under impact and are sensitive to environmental factors. To combat this, blade manufacturers employ polymer-based surface coatings, caps or tapes to protect the composite structure. However, it is the repeated impact of rain droplets combined with the high blade tip speed, which are mostly contributing to the erosion of wind turbine blades [1]. The hindering of leading-edge erosion could be obtained through its multilayer material optimization i.e. Leading Edge Protection LEP [2]. Both the surface erosion and the intra-layer adhesion are affected by the shock wave propagation through the thickness of the LEP system produced from the collapsing water droplet after impact [3]. It is necessary to increase the interfacial fracture toughness resistance of the multy-layered system from the surface to the interface boundaries to damp the surface damage and avoid subsurface delamination [4]. Therefore, validated models considering the developed multicomplex stress states and the material degradation due to environmental loads are required for design purposes toward anti-erosion protection performance. This investigation summarizes the review of the current literature conducted in the framework of the IEA Wind TCP (International Energy Agency Wind Technology Collaboration Programme) - Task 46 Erosion of wind turbine blades [5]. It focuses on two main issues: firstly, the LEP material configuration used in industry considering the blade integration technology and, secondly, the modelling techniques and numerical procedures currently used to predict both wear surface damage and interface delamination failure. This work will allow for the identification of gaps within the research that can be explored during IEA Wind Task 46.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 20th European Conference on Composite Materials: Composites Meet Sustainability
Subtitle of host publicationVol 5 – Applications and Structures
EditorsAnastasios P. Vassilopoulos , Véronique Michaud
Place of PublicationLausanne
PublisherEPFL Lausanne, Composite Construction Laboratory
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)978-2-9701614-0-0
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Event20th European Conference on Composite Materials: Composites Meet Sustainability - Lausanne, Switzerland
Duration: 26 Jun 202230 Jun 2022
Conference number: 20


Conference20th European Conference on Composite Materials
Abbreviated titleECCM20


  • Wind turbine blades
  • leading edge protection
  • droplet impact computational modelling
  • multilayer systems


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