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Long fibre thermoplastic improves performance of small wind turbine blades

Hunan ZKenergy Wind Power Industrial Technology Co Ltd of China designs and manufactures affordable, small-scale wind turbines suitable for off-grid locations. The company uses a very long glass fibre reinforced thermoplastic composite from RTP Company to injection mould the turbine blades.

"We worked with RTP Company to develop a suitable very long fibre product because it provided the highest strength-to-weight ratio we could find in an injection mouldable material," explains Danping Xie, Vice President of Design at Hunan ZKenergy.

"The long glass fibre reinforcement provided high modulus and impact resistance that keeps the configuration of our blades constant, regardless of environmental conditions. Exceptional dimensional stability is critical for keeping the blades from changing their angle against incoming wind and greatly increases the efficiency of our turbines, especially in very humid or very dry conditions."

"When compared to thermoset or metal materials, the very long fibre compound has a lower specific gravity, which makes the blade lighter and more efficient," says Xie. "In addition, it offers enhanced strength and a higher degree of rigidity than other injection mouldable materials."

"When our turbines are in operation, RTP Company's compound has been able to dampen vibrations within the blade, effectively reducing audible noise," he adds.

According to Xie, Hunan ZKenergy's turbine blades are now able to outlast the life of the mechanical components of the turbine itself.

The resin used in a polyamide (PA) 66.

RTP Company, headquartered in Winona, Minnesota, USA, is a compounder of custom engineered thermoplastics.


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